Contractors in Iraq: Exploited Class or Exclusive Club?

Ori Swed, Daniel Burland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Corporate privatization of security has generated a neoliberal iteration of an old profession: the private military contractor. This development has revolutionized security policies across the globe while reviving old patterns of inequality. Following neoliberal logic, outsourcing fosters two types of employment: the exploitative and the exclusive. The first refers to low-status individuals hired en masse to perform menial labor; the second refers to experts who perform functions central to the employer’s mission. We contribute to this discussion by focusing on the qualifications of a different subsample of this industry: American contractors who died while performing military and security functions in Iraq. We assert that such American employees directly engaged in mission-essential combat and security functions better fit the employment category of an exclusive, expert sector at the core of the private military industry.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArmed Forces and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • civil–military relations
  • expert workforce
  • post-Fordist
  • precarious employment
  • private military and security contractors
  • privatization
  • veterans

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