Security Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 280–293 | Cite as

Searching for legitimacy – Private military and security companies (PMSCs) overcoming ingrained stereotypes

  • Kathrin Herbst
Original Article


The transfer of power in the area of security provision from government to private companies raises the question of the right to exercise this power, as well as the legitimacy of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs). Existing research has examined the different forms of power PMSCs inherit. This article explores various forms of legitimacy that can be attributed to PMSCs. It argues that because of the possession of different forms of power, a more sophisticated overarching approach towards understanding the multiple sources of legitimacy is necessary when addressing the privatization of security and the existence of PMSCs. The article then applies some of those different thoughts on legitimacy to the debate concerning PMSCs.


legitimacy private military and security companies performance Codes of Conduct law 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathrin Herbst
    • 1
  1. 1.Politics and History DepartmentBrunel University, School of Social Sciences and BCISSUxbridgeUK

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