Modern-Day Mercenaries? Cowboys, GreyMen, and the Emotional Habitus

Abstract

Set against the backdrop of the rapid growth in the Private Military and Security Company (PMSC) industry, this chapter considers the deeper roots to contractors’s presentation of professional self. Based on field research by the author, it draws on the ideal types of high- versus low-profile performances of contractor security work that are mapped on to American national identity in the case of the former, and the British in regard to the latter. In theoretical terms, the concept of the emotional habitus is developed as one way to illuminate the embodied and emotional dimensions of these contrasting profiles that, in turn, can also be explained by reference to the historical and cultural contexts from which they come. Here, compensatory masculinities flowing from gendered insecurity are discussed in the American case, whereas the British class system is invoked to account for the low-profile, somewhat more ‘assured’ British security performance. In conclusion, the political repercussions of these profiles are briefly considered.

Works Cited

  1. Avant, Deborah. The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006.Google Scholar
  2. Aylwin-Foster, Nick. “Changing the Army for Counterinsurgency Operations.” Military Review (November-December 2005): 2–15.Google Scholar
  3. Barrett, Frank. “The Organizational Construction of Hegemonic Masculinity: The Case of the US Navy.” Gender, Work and Organization 3.3 (1996): 129–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Belkin, Aaron. Bring me Men: Military Masculinity and the Benign Facade of American Empire 1898–2001. London: Columbia, 2011.Google Scholar
  5. Ben-Ari, Eyal. Mastering Soldiers. Conflict, Emotions, and the Enemy in an Israeli Military Unit. New York: Berghahn Books, 1998.Google Scholar
  6. Bendelow, Gillian, and Simon Williams, Eds. Emotions in Social Life: Critical Themes and Contemporary Issues. London: Routledge, 1997.Google Scholar
  7. Bicanic, Nick, and Jason Bourque. Shadow Company. DVD. A Purpose Built Film, 2006.Google Scholar
  8. Blackwater Xbox 360 game. “Have you got what it takes to be a Blackwater Operative?” n.d. Web. 20 Sept 2013. <https://web.archive.org/web/20140102010604/http://blackwatergame.co.uk/>.
  9. Burkitt, Ian. “Technologies of the Self: Habitus and Capacities.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 32.2 (2002): 219–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chisholm, Amanda. “The Silenced and Indispensables: Gurkhas in Private Military Security Companies.” International Journal of Feminist Politics. 16.1 (2014): 26–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clarke, Simon, and Paul Hoggett. “The Empire of Fear: The American Political Psyche and the Culture of Paranoia.” Psychodynamic Practice: Individuals, Groups and Organisations 10.1 (2004): 89–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Connell, R.W. Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity, 1995.Google Scholar
  13. DiMaggio, Paul, and Walter Powell. “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields.” American Sociological Review 48.2 (1983): 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Duffield, Mark. Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merging of Development and Security. London: Zed Books, 2001.Google Scholar
  15. Duncanson, Claire. “Forces for Good: Narratives of Military Masculinity in Peacekeeping Operations.” International Journal of Feminist Politics 11.1 (2009): 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fainaru, Steve. Big Boy Rules: America’s Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq. New York: Da Capo Press, 2008.Google Scholar
  17. Forsyth, Frederick. The Dogs of War. London: Viking Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  18. Gibson, Stephen, and Jackie Abell. “For Queen and Country? National Frames of Reference in the Talk of Soldiers in England.” Human Relations 57.7 (2004): 871–891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goffman, Erving. Presentation of Self. London: Penguin Books, 1959.Google Scholar
  20. ———. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. London: Touchstone Publishers, 1986.Google Scholar
  21. Greenwald, Robert. “Profit-Chasing Guns-for-Hire Are Killing Us in Iraq and Afghanistan.” 26 Oct. 2010. Web. 5 Nov. 2010. <http://www.indypendent.org/2010/10/26/profit-chasing-guns-for-hire/>.
  22. Higate, Paul. “Tracking Leavers and Monitoring Resettlement.” Ministry of Defence. Unpublished Report, 2001.Google Scholar
  23. ———, ed. Military Masculinities: Identity and the State. Greenwood: Praeger, 2003.Google Scholar
  24. ———. “‘Cowboys and Professionals’: The Politics of Identity Work in the Private and Military Security Company.” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 40.2 (2012): 321–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ———. Critical Impact Report: The Politics of Profile and the Private and Military Security Contractor. Bristol: U of Bristol, Global Insecurities Centre, 2013.Google Scholar
  26. ———. “Aversions to Masculine Excess in the Private Military and Security Company and Their Effects: Don’t Be a ‘Billy Big Bollocks’ and Beware the ‘Ninja!’” Gender and Private Security in Global Politics. Ed. Maya Eichler. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2015. 134–141.Google Scholar
  27. ——— “Cat Food and Clients: Gendering the Politics of Protection in the Private Militarised Security Company.” Handbook on Gender and War. Eds. Simona Sharoni et al. London: Edward Elgar, 2016.Google Scholar
  28. Hicks Stiehm, Judith. “The Protected, the Protector, the Defended.” Women’s Studies International Forum 5.3–4 (1982): 367–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hockey, John. Squaddies: Portrait of a Subculture. Exeter: U of Exeter, 1986.Google Scholar
  30. Hooper, Charlotte. Manly States: Masculinities, International Relations and Gender Politics. Columbia: Columbia UP, 2001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hunt, Mick. “23 SAS Information Please.” Yahoo Answers. Yahoo, 2009. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. <http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091214120743AAKUvQ3>.
  32. Jeffords, Susan. The Remasculinization of America: Gender and the Vietnam War. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1989.Google Scholar
  33. Joachim, Jutta, and Andrea Schneiker. “(Re)Masculinizing Security? Gender and Private Military and Security Companies.” Gender, Agency and Political Violence. Eds. Linda Åhäll and Laura J. Shepherd. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 70–92.Google Scholar
  34. ———. “Of ‘True Professionals’ and ‘Ethical Hero Warriors’: A Gender Discourse Analysis of Private Military and Security Companies.” Security Dialogue 43.6 (2012a): 495–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. ———. “New Humanitarians? Frame Appropriation through Private Military and Security Companies.” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 40.2 (2012b): 365–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Keegan, John. “Let the Infighting Begin: British and US Rivalry Resumes.” Telegraph. 17 April 2003. Web. 26 May 2011. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1427766/Let-the-infighting-begin-British-and-US-rivalry-resumes.html>.
  37. Kemp, Richard. “Warnings over US-UK Afghanistan Mission Rivalries.” Channel 4. 4 News, 6 Sept. 2010. Web. 27 May 2011. <http://www.channel4.com/news/warnings-over-us-uk-afghanistan-mission-rivalries>.
  38. Kimmel, Michael. Manhood in America: A Cultural History. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997.Google Scholar
  39. Leander, Anna. “Privatizing the Politics of Protection: Military Companies and the Definition of Security Concerns.” The Politics of Protection: Sites of Insecurity and Political Agency. Eds. Jef Huysmans, Andrew Dobson, and Prokhovnik Raia. London: Routledge, 2006. 19–33.Google Scholar
  40. ———. “What Do Codes of Conduct Do? Hybrid Constitutionalization and Militarization in Military Markets.” Global Constitutionalism 1.1 (2012): 91–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Morgan, David. “Theater of Combat: The Military and Masculinities.” Theorizing Masculinities. Eds. Harry Brod and Michael Kaufmann. London: Sage, 1994. 165–182.Google Scholar
  42. Nagl, John A. Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam. Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 2005.Google Scholar
  43. Pelton, Robert Young. Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror. London: Crown Publishers, 2006.Google Scholar
  44. Plain, Gill. John Mills and British Cinema: Masculinity, Identity and Nation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2006.Google Scholar
  45. Rose, Sonya. “Temperate Heroes: Concepts of Masculinity in Second World War Britain.” Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History. Eds. Stefan Dudink, Karen Hagermann, and John Tosh. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2004. 177–198.Google Scholar
  46. Scahill, Jeremy. Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. New York: Serpent’s Tail, 2007.Google Scholar
  47. Schumacher, Gerald. A Bloody Business: America’s War Zone Contractors and the Occupation of Iraq. New York: Zenith P, 2006.Google Scholar
  48. Shadow Company. Soldier. Mercenary. Private Contractor. Whose Fighting Today’s Wars? Dir. Jason Bourqe and Nick Bicanic. Purpose Films: 2008.Google Scholar
  49. Stachowitsch, Saskia. “Military Privatization and the Remasculinization of the State: Making the Link Between the Outsourcing of Military Security and Gendered State Transformations.” International Relations 27.1 (2013): 174–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Storm, JT. Pushing the Envelope: The Story of a Hired Gun in Iraq. Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2008. Kindle Edition.Google Scholar
  51. Tosh, John. “What Should Historians do with Masculinity?” History Workshop 38 (1994): 179–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. “Trigger Time.” Urban Dictionary. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. <http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=trigger%20time>.
  53. Via, Sandra. “Gender, Militarism, and Globalization: Soldiers for Hire and Hegemonic Masculinity.” Gender, War, and Militarism. Eds. Laura Sjoberg and Sandra Via. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010. 42–53.Google Scholar
  54. Whitworth, Sandra. Men, Militarism and UN Peacekeeping. London: Lynne Rienner, 2004.Google Scholar
  55. Young, Iris Marion. “The Logic of Masculinist Protection: Reflections on the Current Security State.” Signs 29.1 (2003): 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017
This entry was posted in Academic and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply