The Sociology of Privatized Security

  • Ori Swed
  • Thomas Crosbie

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Thomas Crosbie, Ori Swed
    Pages 1-19
  3. Examining the Trend

  4. Privatization and the State’s Monopoly on Violence

  5. The State and the Contractors

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 171-171
    2. Joseph R. Bongiovi, Lisa Leitz
      Pages 173-216
    3. John Sibley Butler, Bryan Stephens, Ori Swed
      Pages 237-258
  6. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 259-259
    2. Ori Swed, Thomas Crosbie
      Pages 261-273
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 275-281

About this book


The first book dedicated to the sociology of privatized security, this collection studies 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 volume first explores 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 section challenges the idea that states have a monopoly on legitimate violence and questions our legal and economic assumptions about private security. The collection concludes with a discussion of the contractors themselves, focusing on gender, race, ethnicity, and other demographic factors. Featuring a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods and a range of theoretical and methodological innovations,  this book will inspire sociologists to examine, with fresh eyes, the behind-the-scenes tension between the high drama of war and conflict and the mundane realities of privatized security contractors and their everyday lives.


Security contractors Private security Military contracts Private security companies Private military Gender and security Gender and the military military regulation security regulation Privatization State monopology Nationalism Legitimacy state violence military technology military organization Private Military and Security Companies privatization of state violence

Editors and affiliations

  • Ori Swed
    • 1
  • Thomas Crosbie
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Anthropology, & Social WorkTexas Tech UniversityLubbock, TXUSA
  2. 2.Royal Danish Defence CollegeCopenhagenDenmark

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-98221-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-98222-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site