Private Military Contractors as Criminals/Victims

  • Adam White


Private military contractors (PMCs) are regularly labelled as ‘criminals’ (most commonly as mercenaries or violators of human rights), yet they are almost never labelled as ‘victims’ (of exploitative clients and corporations, for instance). The purpose of this chapter is to explore the relationship between these binary formulations. It argues (i) that while PMCs can be cast simultaneously as ‘criminals’ and ‘victims’, the sociological terrain upon which these labelling processes unfold is highly uneven, placing far more emphasis upon ‘criminal’ than ‘victim’; and (ii) that both labelling processes are further shaped by the iniquitous structure of the PMC labour market, with well-paid expats (Americans, Canadians, British) more likely to be cast as ‘criminals’ than low-paid third country nationals (Ugandans, Nepalese, Fijians) and local nationals (Afghans, Iraqis).


Economic Agency Labelling Process United Nations Global Compact Probable Ptsd Country National 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam White
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Criminological ResearchUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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