Advertisement

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

legitimacy private military and security companies performance Codes of Conduct law 

References

  1. Abrahamsen, R. and Williams, M.C. (2010) Security Beyond the State: Private Security in International Politics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aman, A.C. (2004) The Democracy Deficit: Taming Globalization Through Law Reform. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, D.-P. (2008) Of ‘mercenaries’ and prostitutes. Can private warriors be ethical? In: A. Alexandra, D.-P. Baker and M. Caparini (eds.) Private Military and Security Companies. Ethics, Policies and Civil-Military Relations. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Ballesteros, E. (1996) Report of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination. Report to Commission on Human Rights, 17 January. E/CN.4/1996/27.Google Scholar
  5. Barnard, F.M. (2002) Democratic Legitimacy. Plural Values and Political Power. Montréal, Quebec: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Beetham, D. (1991) The Legitimation of Power. Basingstoke: Macmillan Education.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beuns, S.P. (2007) Warriors for the working day: Private military firms in conflict. Journal of Global Change and Governance 1 (1): 1–23.Google Scholar
  8. Bodansky, D. (1999) The legitimacy of international governance: A coming challenge for international environmental law? American Journal of International Law 93 (3): 596–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brooks, D. (2000) Write a cheque, end a war: Using private military companies to end African conflicts. Conflict Trends 2000/1, http://www.accord.org.za/downloads/ct/ct_2000_1.pdf.
  10. Campbell, D. (2003) Intra- and intersectoral effects in environmental disclosures: Evidence for legitimacy theory? Business Strategy and the Environment 12 (6): 357–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cohen, J. (1989) Deliberative democracy and democratic legitimacy. In: A. Hamlin and P. Pettit (eds.) The Good Polity. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 17–34.Google Scholar
  12. Cummins, H. (2002) Perception and profit: Understanding commercial military and security service provision. Discussion Paper. Birmingham: Centre for Studies in Security and Diplomacy, University of Birmingham.Google Scholar
  13. Cutler, A.C. (2010) The legitimacy of private transnational governance: Experts and the transnational market for force. Socio-Economic Review 8 (4): 157–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deegan, C., Rankin, M. and Voght, P. (2000) Firms’ disclosure reactions to major social incidents: Australian evidence. Accounting Forum 24 (1): 101–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. de Búrca, G. (1996) The quest for legitimacy in the European Union. The Modern Law Review 59 (3): 349–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. del Prado, J.L. (2010) The privatization of war: Mercenaries, private military and security companies (PMSC). beyond the WikiLeaks files, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21826.
  17. Dickinson, L. (2011) Outsourcing War and Peace: Preserving Public Values in a World of Privatized Foreign Affairs. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Dowling, J. and Pfeffer, J. (1975) Organizational legitimacy: Social values and organization behavior. Pacific Sociological Review 18 (1): 122–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Elms, H. and Phillips, R.A. (2009) Private security companies and institutional legitimacy: Corporate and stakeholder responsibility. Business Ethics Quarterly 19 (3): 403–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Elsig, M. (2007) The world trade organization’s legitimacy crisis: What does the beast look like? Journal of World Trade 41 (1): 75–98.Google Scholar
  21. Emtairah, T. and Mont, O. (2008) Gaining legitimacy in contemporary world: Environmental and social activities of organisations. International Journal of Sustainable Society 1 (2): 134–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Franck, T. (1988) Legitimacy in the international system. American Journal of International Law 82 (4): 705–759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gordon, N. (2012) Two former watchdogs ring in the new year on the other side of the revolving door. POGO 5 January, http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2012/01/two-former-watchdogs-ring-in-the-new-year-on-the-other-side-of-the-revolving-door.html.
  24. Habermas, J. (2000) Three normative models of democracy. In: J. Habermas, C. Cronin and P. de Greiff (eds.) The Inclusion of the Other. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 239–252.Google Scholar
  25. Harvey, D. (2005) A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford; NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hearit, K.M. (1995) ‘Mistakes were made’: Organizations, apologia, and crises of social legitimacy. Communication Studies 46 (1–2): 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Held, D. (1995) Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  28. Hopkins, N. (2012) G4S Olympic security debacle – Q&A. The Guardian 17 July, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/17/g4s-olympic-security-debacle-q-and-a.
  29. Huskey, K.A. and Sullivan, S.M. (2009) The American way: Private military contractors & US law after 9/11. National Reports Series 02/08, http://priv-war.eu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/nr-02-08-usa.pdf.
  30. Isenberg, D. (2010a) It’s déjà vu for DynCorp all over again. The Huffington Post 6 December.Google Scholar
  31. Isenberg, D. (2010b) It all depends on what you mean by cost-effective. The Huffington Post 20 December.Google Scholar
  32. Joachim, J. and Schneiker, A. (2012) New humanitarians? Frame appropriation through private military and security companies. Millennium – Journal of International Studies 40 (2): 365–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Keohane, R.D. (2003) Global governance and accountability. In: D. Held and M. Koenig-Archibugi (eds.) Taming Globalization: Frontiers of Governance. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, pp. 371–400.Google Scholar
  34. Kinsey, C. (2008) Private security companies and corporate social responsibility. In: A. Alexandra, D.-P. Baker and M. Caparini (eds.) Private Military and Security Companies. Ethics, Policies and Civil-Military Relations. London: Routledge, pp. 70–86.Google Scholar
  35. Leadership Intelligence Bulletin. (2010) Privatising war. More than just a moral dilemma, http://www.leadershiponline.co.za/articles/politics/812-privatising-war?format=pdf.
  36. Leander, A. (2005) The power to construct international security: On the significance of private military companies. Millennium – Journal of International Studies 33 (3): 803–825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Leander, A. (2012) What do codes of conduct do? Hybrid constitutionalization and militarization in military markets. Global Constitutionalism 1 (1): 91–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lock, P. (1998) The withering military in sub-Saharan Africa: New roles for the private security industry? Afrika Spectrum 33 (2): 135–155.Google Scholar
  39. Makki, S., Meek, S., Musah, A.-F., Crowley, M. and Lilly, D. (2002) Private military companies and the proliferation of small arms: Regulating the actors. International Alert Report, http://www.saferworld.org.uk/downloads/pubdocs/Btb_brf10.pdf.
  40. Mandel, R. (2002) Armies Without States: The Privatization of Security. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  41. Mathews, M.R. (1993) Socially Responsible Accounting. London: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  42. Mays, N. (2000) Legitimate decision-making: The achilles heel of solidaristic health care. Journal of Health Service Research and Policy 5 (2): 122–126.Google Scholar
  43. Moravcsik, A. (2004) Is there a ‘Democratic deficit’ in world politics? A framework for analysis. Government and Opposition 39 (2): 336–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nachbar, T.B. (2012) Counterinsurgency, legitimacy, and the rule of law. Parameters 42 (1): 27–38.Google Scholar
  45. Nanz, P. (2006) Democratic legitimacy and constitutionalisation of transnational trade governance: A view from political theory. In: C. Joerges and E.-U. Petersmann (eds.) Constitutionalism, Multilevel Trade Governance and Social Regulation, Studies in International Trade Law, Vol. 9. Oxford: Hart.Google Scholar
  46. Neu, D., Warsame, H. and Pedwell, K. (1998) Managing public impressions: Environmental disclosures in annual reports. Accounting, Organizations and Society 23 (3): 265–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Opolot, J.S.E. (1999) An Introduction to Private Security: A Comparative Introduction to an International Phenomenon. Lanham, MD: Austin & Winfield.Google Scholar
  48. Ostensen, A. (2011) In from the cold? Self-legitimating the market for private security. Global Change, Peace & Security 23 (3): 369–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Patten, D.M. (1992) Intra-industry environmental disclosures in response to the Alaskan oil spill: A note on legitimacy theory. Accounting, Organizations and Society 17 (5): 471–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Perrin, B. (2006) Promoting compliance of private security and military companies with international humanitarian law. International Review of the Red Cross 88 (863): 613–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Perrin, B. (2008) Humanitarian assistance and the private security debate: An international humanitarian law perspective. On The Edges Of Conflict. Ottawa: Canadian Red Cross, http://www.croixrouge.ca/cmslib/general/oteoc_ben_perrin.pdf.
  52. Perrow, C. (1970) Organizational Analysis: A Sociological View. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  53. Pfeffer, J. (1981) Management as symbolic action: The creation and maintenance of organizational paradigms. In: L.L. Cummings and B.M. Staw (eds.) Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 3. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  54. Risse, T. (2006) Transnational governance and legitimacy. In: A. Benz and Y. Papadopoulos (eds.) Governance and Democracy: Comparing National, European and International Experiences. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Ruf, W. (ed.) (2003) Private militärische unternehmen (PMU). In: Politische Ökonomie der Gewalt. Staatszerfall und die Privatisierung von Gewalt und Krieg. Opladen, Germany: Leske+Budrich, (Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, Bd. 7), pp. 76–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Scahill, J. (2007) Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. New York: Nation Books.Google Scholar
  57. Schimmelfennig, F. (1996) Legitimate rule in the European union. The academic debate. In: Tübinger Arbeitspapiere zur Internationalen Politik und Friedensforschung, No. 27. Tübingen, Germany: Institut für Politikwissenschaft.Google Scholar
  58. Schmelzle, C. (2011) Evaluating Governance. Effectiveness and legitimacy in areas of limited statehood. SFB-Governance Working Paper Series 26. Berlin: Research Center (SFB) 700.Google Scholar
  59. Schneller, L. (2010) Conceptions of democratic governance in the multilateral realm: The case of the WTO. Living Reviews in Democracy 2 (2010): 1–18.Google Scholar
  60. Selznick, P. (1949) TVA and the Grass Roots: A Study in the Sociology of Formal Organization. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  61. Sethi, S.P. (1978) Advocacy advertising − the American experience. California Management Review 21 (1): 58–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Shearer, D. (1998) Private Armies and Military Intervention, Adelphi Paper Series No. 316. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Singer, P.W. (2002) Corporate warriors: The rise of the privatized military industry and its ramifications for international security. International Security 26 (3): 186–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Singer, P.W. (2003) Corporate Warriors. The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry. Ithaca, NY; London: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Singer, P.W. (2004) The private military industry and iraq. What have we learned and where to next? DCAF Policy Papers, Issue 4.Google Scholar
  66. Spearin, C. (2001) Private security companies and humanitarians: A corporate solution to securing humanitarian spaces? International Peacekeeping 8 (1): 20–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Teubner, G. (2009) The corporate codes of multinationals: Company constitutions beyond corporate governance and co-determination. In: R. Nickel (ed.) Conflict of Laws and Laws of Conflict in Europe and Beyond: Patterns of Supranational and Transnational Juridification. Oxford: Hart, pp. 261–275.Google Scholar
  68. Tilling, M.V. (2004) Refinements to legitimacy theory in social and environmental accounting. Commerce Research Paper Series No. 04–06, http://www.flinders.edu.au/sabs/business-files/research/papers/2004/04-6.pdf.
  69. Tyler, T.R. (2006) Why People Obey the Law. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Vaux, T., Seiple, C., Nakano, G. and Van Brabant, K. (2002) Humanitarian Action and Private Security Companies: Opening the Debate. London: International Alert.Google Scholar
  71. Wilmot, S. (2004) Foundation trusts and the problem of legitimacy. Health Care Analysis 12 (2): 157–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zürn, M. (2004) Global governance and legitimacy problems. Government and Opposition 39 (2): 260–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations