The Markets for Force: Privatization of Security across World Regions

The Markets for Force: Privatization of Security across World Regions

The Markets for Force: Privatization of Security across World Regions

The Markets for Force: Privatization of Security across World Regions


The Markets for Force examines and compares the markets for private military and security contractors in twelve states: Argentina, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia, Afghanistan, China, Canada, and the United States. Editors Molly Dunigan and Ulrich Petersohn argue that the global market for force is actually a conglomeration of many types of markets that vary according to local politics and geostrategic context. Each case study investigates the particular characteristics of the region's market, how each market evolved into its current form, and what consequence the privatized market may have for state military force and the provision of public safety. The comparative standpoint sheds light on better-known markets but also those less frequently studied, such as the state-owned and -managed security companies in China, militaries working for private sector extractive industries in Ecuador and Peru, and the ways warlord forces overlap with private security companies in Afghanistan.

An invaluable resource for scholars and policymakers alike, The Markets for Force offers both an empirical analysis of variations in private military and security companies across the globe and deeper theoretical knowledge of how such markets develop.

Contributors: Olivia Allison, Oldich Bure, Jennifer Catallo, Molly Dunigan, Scott Fitzsimmons, Maiah Jaskoski, Kristina Mani, Carlos Ortiz, Ulrich Petersohn, Jake Sherman, Christopher Spearin.


As armed men took over two airports in Crimea after the ouster of embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in February 2014, some reports suggested they were forces employed by Vnevedomstvenaya Okhrana, a private security contracting bureau inside the Russian interior ministry that hires forces to protect Russian Navy installations and assets in Crimea (“Russian ‘Blackwater’” 2014). If this is indeed the case, what can we expect of Russian security firms? Are they shoring up the Russian state’s monopoly on force or undermining it? Will their use lead to greater public security or less? This volume endeavors to address just these kinds of questions.

A significant literature has amassed focusing on the global growth of a market for force and particular manifestations of it in individual cases. Fewer, however, have systematically examined the variations within this market. Molly Dunigan and Ulrich Petersohn set out to do just that. They pose a typology of different kinds of markets: a neoliberal market, a hybrid market, and a racketeering market. They and their colleagues then analyze how these different market forms should impact the state’s monopoly on force and the provision of security as a public good and investigate how the markets have affected individual cases. Though some may take issue with their formulations and predictions, Dunigan, Petersohn, and their colleagues take a step toward better describing and understanding the various forms that marketized security takes and the consequences of these different forms.

Beyond the general formulations, this volume also offers new empirical detail on cases from Latin America to Europe to North America to Asia. Much of the analysis in the literature on the private military and security industry has focused on the United States and Europe or on various countries in Africa. This volume includes cases from less studied regions. the inclusion of a broader array of cases and regional overviews is a welcome addition, even though reliable data on many of these cases is hard to obtain.

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