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The Sociology of Privatized Security

This is the first book dedicated to the sociology of privatized security. It includes nine chapters studying the important global trend of shifting security from public to private hands and the associated rise of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) and their contractors. The first three chapters explore the trend itself, making important historical and theoretical revisions to the existing social science of private security. These chapters discuss why rulers buy, rent and create private militaries, why mercenaries have become private patriots, and why the legitimacy of military missions is undermined by the use of contractors. The next three chapters challenge the idea that states have a monopoly on legitimate violence, question our legal and economic assumptions about private security. The final three chapters discuss the contractors themselves, focusing on gender, race, ethnicity and other demographic factors. The chapters feature a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods and theoretical innovations.