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The market and the military profession: competition and change in the case of Sweden

Journal article
Authors Joakim Berndtsson
Published in Defense & Security Analysis
Volume 35
Issue 2
Pages 190-210
ISSN 1475-1798
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Global Studies
Pages 190-210
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1080/14751798.20...
Keywords Private military and security companies, military profession, Sweden, security outsourcing, identity
Subject categories Peace and conflict research

Abstract

The rise of private military and security companies (PMSCs) challenges our notion of military professionals. PMSCs bring new claims to professional status and legitimacy outside military institutions and represent an increasing diffusion of - and competition over - military and security expertise. In light of this development, understanding the formation of professional identities in military and private security organisations is as an important undertaking. This paper contributes to this endeavour by analysing professional self-images in the Swedish Armed Forces and how these relate to PMSCs. The study is based on data collected from official documents, semi-structured interviews and a small-scale survey among senior military officers. Focusing on military understandings of PMSCs and contractors, the analysis provides much-needed insight into relational aspects of professional identity formation outside the US context. Furthermore, it points to discrepancies in organisational and group levels in understandings of commercial security actors, and paves the way for future research.

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