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Title: The privatisation of violence : an examination of private military and security contractors and their effect on sovereignty and fundamental rights in a globalised world
Author: Gough, Daniel James
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 3962
Awarding Body: Birmingham City University
Current Institution: Birmingham City University
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis considers the effects the private exercise of coercive violence on the modern nation-state through an examination of the increasing prevalence of Private Military and Security Contractors. It studies the practical implications of the privatisation of violence for Domestic and International Law and seeks to propose an original typological framework for the classification and regulation of PMSCs. This thesis begins by examining the historical relationship between coercive violence and maintenance of power/authority from the perspective of the Westphalian Sovereignty and the resulting state-centric international legal regime. It considers how the 'violence-power' relationship has historically been conceptualised through social contract and 'force of law' theories and the limitations these suffer in relation to PMSCs. Specific focus is given to the manner in which existing theories have tended towards viewing violence either as an instrument of power or, as a public good and the corresponding implications of the commodification and globalisation of violence. The study, therefore, seeks to develop an original conceptual framework on the nature of coercive violence. This conceptual framework draws upon a body of work built around the theoretical critiques of violence undertaken by Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt, allowing the study a unique perspective to analyse the relationship between private violence and governmental power/authority Utilising this conceptual underpinning, this thesis investigates the political and economic factors instrumental in the growth of PMSC activity, considering the expansion of globalisation and neo-liberalism and the corresponding weakening of the nation-state. To highlight the increasing diversity of private actors, the research presents three case studies into the globalisation of coercive violence within national security assemblages namely; Peru, Nigeria and Afghanistan. These case studies first examine the social and political climate in which the growth of private coercive violence developed and identify key security concerns which have affected these areas. Each case studies identifies the legal regulation of PMSCs in the State to understand both how States have sought to limit the proliferation of private violence and understand the difficulties these States have encountered in applying or enforcing these regulations. Drawing upon these case studies, the thesis critically analyses the current attempts to regulate and establish accountability for PMSCs through either domestic or state-centric international Law noting the inherent difficulties within these. It considers how effectively the Montreux Document and the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Contractors are able to regulate the activities of PMSCs before analysing the effectiveness of the international legal regime in regulating PMSCs with a focus on the doctrine of State Responsibility. This notes the inherent difficulties in establishing effective regulatory frameworks and particularly the arbitrary distinctions drawn within these regulations Finally, considering both the practical and theoretical issues identified throughout the research the thesis looks to create an original typological approach to identifying and classifying PMSCs. This approach examines stakeholder relationships and power structures to produce a framework for the classification of PMSC activity and extrapolates trends and features with emphasis on democratic accountability and human rights. The thesis proposes the suitability of this system as a framework for legal regulation in a manner capable of addressing the intricacies and difficulties posed by PMSCs.
Supervisor: Davies, Haydn ; Richardson-Oakes, Anne Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L300 Sociology ; L700 Human and Social Geography ; M100 Law by area