Category Archives: Gender & Military

Markets, Men, and Mercenaries. Private Security through the Lens of Gender, Race, and Global Political Economy


Markets, Men, and Mercenaries. Private
Security through the Lens of Gender,
Race, and Global Political Economy

Lecturer: Amanda Chisholm
(Newcastle University)
Saskia Stachowitsch
(University of Vienna)

Moderation: Claudia Brunner 
(University of Klagenfurt)

Thursday, 29th October 2015, 6:00 p.m.

Hörsaal 1 ( A0212)
Institut für Politikwissenschaft
Universitätsstraße 7/2. Stock, 1010 Wien

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project: “Integrating Feminist International Relations and Feminist State Theory – The case of gender and military privatization”

May 2013 to June 2019: Project leader
(financed by: Elise Richter-grant, FWF)

The project investigates the relationship between gendered states and the gendered dynamics of global politics. It aims to develop a more comprehensive perspective on the theoretical and empirical interconnections between gender relations at the state and the international level in the context of neoliberal restructuring. For this purpose, the study integrates two major feminist research traditions – feminist state theories and feminist international relations (IR) – and applies the developed theory mix in a study of military privatization. The outsourcing of military and security functions is a central element in neoliberal reform and a highly gendered phenomenon. In a comparative analysis of military privatization in the United States and the United Kingdom, the gendered dimensions of private security are investigated. It is argued that interactions between the gendered state and the global gender order enhance inequality in and through the private military and security sector. This is not an outcome of state erosion to the advantage of the private military and security industry, but an effect of shifting power relations within and beyond the state which reconstruct the gendered boundaries between national/international, state/market, and public/private.

cooperating partners:

Cynthia Enloe (Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, US)
Paul Higate (University of Bristol, UK)
Trevor McCrisken (University of Warwick, UK)


project: “State transformation, military privatization and gender relations: Impacts of the de-nationalization of warfare on the relationship between state and gender”

Jan. 2012 to April 2013: Project leader (IPW)
(financed by: Erwin-Schrödinger grant, FWF)

In the context of global restructuring and neo-liberal transformations of the state, private actors have become increasingly important in military operations opposite regular state forces. The project investigated the gendered effects of this process and its impact on the state-gender relationship. In an exemplary case study of the US, gendered implications of military outsourcing were examined at the levels of gender-specific division of labour, gender policy, and gender ideologies/discourses. Results show that military privatization excludes women from military labour markets, impedes gender equality policies, and affirms hierarchical gender ideologies. These developments strengthen the nexus between state-sanctioned violence and masculinity and thus constitute a process remasculinization. Furthermore, the project examined the emerging relationship between feminist knowledge production and the private security industry, highlighting the problematic assumptions underlying current gender scholarship on private security as well as the industry’s use of gender rhetoric as a legitimizing strategy. For this purpose, the study critically evaluated previous research and data on military privatization from a gender perspective and examined primary and secondary sources such as industry documents (e.g. codes of conduct), governmental reports, policy papers, media reporting, and websites of private military and security companies.