The private military industry and neoliberal imperialism: Mapping the terrain

Godfrey, Richard; Brewis, Joanna; Grady, Jo and Grocott, Chris (2014). The private military industry and neoliberal imperialism: Mapping the terrain. Organization, 21(1) pp. 106–125.



Despite the international reach, and increasing global importance, of the free market provision of military and security services—which we label the Private Security Industry (PSI)—management and organization studies has yet to pay significant attention to this industry. Taking up Grey’s (2009) call for scholarship at the boundaries between security studies and organization studies and building on Banerjee’s (2008) treatment of the PSI as a key element in necrocapitalism, in this article we aim to trace the long history of the PSI and argue that it has re-emerged over the last two decades against, and as a result of, a very specific politico-economic backdrop. We then suggest that the PSI operates as a mechanism for neoliberal imperialism; demonstrate its substitution for and supplementing of the state; and count some of the costs of this privatization of war. Finally, we take seriously Hughes’s (2007) thesis of the growth of a new security-industrial complex, and of the intersecting elites who benefit from this phenomenon.

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