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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The underbelly of global security: Sierra Leonean ex-militias in Iraq
Author:Mynster Christensen, Maya
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic terms:Sierra Leone
Subjects:private security services
Sierra Leoneans
External link:http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/115/458/23.abstract
Abstract:In the aftermath of the Sierra Leone civil war, demobilized militia soldiers have become an attractive resource to private security companies. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, this article traces the outsourcing of security at American military bases in Iraq to Sierra Leonean ex-militias, facilitated by a British security company and the Sierra Leone government. In doing so, the article contributes to the ongoing scholarly debate on the privatization of security by offering a 'local' ethnographically informed perspective on the micro-dynamics of 'global' security. It is argued that the supply of global security depends on a form of local immobility: on a population that is 'stuck', yet constantly on the move to seize opportunities for survival and recognition. Structured by a chronological account of the recruitment, deployment, and deportation of Sierra Leonean ex-militias, the article discusses how these former militia soldiers experience being reduced to mere bodies rather than recognized labourers. It concludes that notions of race and slavery are employed by the ex-militias to make sense of their predicaments, but most notably as a moral response to the unequal relationships in which they find themselves embedded, in the context of security outsourcing in a global economy. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]