The emergence of private security governance. Assessing facilitating conditions in the case of Somali piracy

Global Change, Peace & Security

formerly Pacifica Review: Peace, Security & Global Change

Volume 29, 2017 – Issue 1

Pages 21-37 | Published online: 15 Sep 2016

Facing the threat of Somali piracy, private actors have created a private security governance framework by both issuing and implementing standards as well as offering operative security solutions through armed guards. Which conditions have facilitated this provision of private security? The present article approaches this research question in two innovative ways: Theoretically, by deriving four conditions from the literature on private climate governance and applying them to the security realm; and empirically, by analyzing the activities of Private Military and Security Companies and the shipping industry in the case of Somali piracy based on a series of semi-structured interviews. Thus, the article contributes to the literature on private security in at least two ways: it provides an extensive understanding of private security incorporating operative and regulative elements and it uses insights about private governance from a more developed field in order to understand private security governance more systematically. The article concludes that all four conditions prominent in the literature on climate change – risk perception, involvement of capital markets, governmental inability, and commodification – can successfully be applied to the case of Somali piracy and explain the emergence and dynamic of private security governance.

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