Private Security in Africa: From the Global Assemblage to the Everyday (Africa Now) (Paperback)
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Across Africa, growing economic inequality, instability, and urbanization have led to the rapid rise of private security providers. While these private security providers have already had a significant impact on African societies, their impact has so far received little in the way of comprehensive analysis—until now. Drawing on a wide range of disciplinary approaches, and encompassing anthropology, sociology, and political science, Private Security in Africa offers unique insight into the lives and experiences of security providers and those affected by them, as well as into the fragile state context which has allowed them to thrive.
Featuring original research and case studies ranging from private policing in South Africa to the recruitment of Sierra Leonean men for private security work in Iraq, the book considers the full implications of private security providers on security and the state, not only within Africa but for the world as a whole.
About the Author
Paul Higate is a reader in gender and security at the University of Bristol. Mats Utas is a senior lecturer in the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at Uppsala University, Sweden. He is the editor of African Conflicts and Informal Power, also published by Zed Books.
“Ranging from secret societies in Sierra Leone to private security companies in South Africa, this important book provides a major contribution to the theory and practical understanding of the everyday experience of private security across Africa.”
— Paul Jackson, University of Birmingham
“The global trend of privatising security has received little systematic attention. This highly recommended book starts to close this gap and raises important questions about what this means for the role of the state in this age of uncertainty.”
— Morten Bøås, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
“Through the adoption of an ethnographic lens, this volume provides a compelling account of everyday private security practices and the kaleidoscopic configurations within which they blend and assemble."
— Daniel Bach, Sciences Po Bordeaux (Emeritus)
“An important addition to understanding the complex nexus between private and state security provision in fragile states. This is a useful and welcome book that adds new interpretations and insight into the increasingly important roles performed by multiple security actors.”
— Kwesi Aning, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana
“Offers a view of private security in Africa ‘from below.’ Its chapters provide compelling accounts for readers interested in the everyday assemblages of African security.”
— Anna Leander, editor of The Commercialization of Security in Europe
“An essential contribution to the scholarship on security assemblages and private security in Africa. It should be compulsory reading for any academic and policy expert concerned with the state of African security today.”
— Christopher Kinsey, author of Corporate Soldiers and International Security
“Bringing together some of the best scholars on private security in sub-Saharan Africa, this collection offers a detailed reminder that the local and global are invariably intertwined and that commercial efforts to achieve security may blend in surprising ways companies, development and human rights NGOs, local communities and state actors.”
— Bruce Baker, Coventry University
“Higate and Utas have produced a cohesive collection of insightful essays on the politics of private security in Africa (and beyond). Theoretically sophisticated and empirically informed, this impressive volume will be the baseline for future scholarship for years to come.”
— Kevin Dunn, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
“The contributions in the book undoubtedly add a high level of high-quality empirical evidence to understanding Africa's security.”
— Oslo Review of Docs and Books
“A key strength of the book is its use of empirical findings for a new theorization of how we are to understand private security in the African continent. . . . I would recommend this book to students and academics interested in security studies, including policy analysts in both public and private spaces.”
— Africa at LSE
“The authors provide a snapshot into complex and compelling scenarios of security governance in spaces where plurality is the norm. . . . An interesting and compelling read.”
— African Studies Review