Corpses, Guns, Penises and Private Military and Security Corporations
Hendershot, Christopher Bryan
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The purpose of this dissertation is to reconceptualise how the work of private military and security companies (PMSCs) comes to matter. The overarching argument is: PMSC work is made to matter through an entanglement of ‘things’, agencies and processes that are not exclusively bound to the needs or desires of clients, regulators or PMSCs themselves. The word matter is used in a dual-sense of becoming meaningful and becoming materialized. I advance the possibility that PMSC work comes to matter through multifaceted enactments of human, formerly human (e.g. the dead), not exclusively human (e.g. penises), and non-human (e.g. guns) agencies. Simultaneously I perform a thorough accounting of the four processes – privatizing, militarizing, securing and commercializing– that overdetermine what this works means to global relations of security. Constituting the (meta-)theoretical apparatus of this dissertation is an entanglement of post-human, queer and feminist considerations of materiality, agency and agents, normativity and accountability. By privileging a post-human, queer and feminist analysis I produce an uncommon understanding of PMSC work that reconfigures the boundaries of what actually matters amongst global relations of security. I also offer an incisive critique of the political-economic processes that overdetermine the meaning of the work that PMSCs perform.