Between security and military identities: The case of Israeli security experts

Between security and military identities: The case of Israeli security experts

The relationship between private security professionals and the military in Israel is complex. While there is growing attention to the fact that security and military actors and their activities are becoming increasingly blurred, the Israeli case shows something different. In this ground-up analysis of the relationship between private security practices and the military, I investigate its constant negotiation by private security professionals through their identification with and differentiation from the military, whereby they reconfigure the meaning of military capital. This identity work should be understood, I propose, within the strongly militarist context of Israeli society, where military capital is highly valued. I argue that actors who exit the military system feel the need to demonstrate the added value of their work in the private sector in order for it to gain value in the light of the symbolic capital given to the military. I analyse these processes as leading to a new kind of militarism, which includes security skills and ideas about professionalism. Such an approach sheds new light on the ways in which security actors can actively reconfigure the workings of military capital in and outside the nation-state and produce a different kind of militarism.

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