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Title: ‘Never call me a mercenary’: Identity work, stigma management and the private security contractor
Authors: Brewis, Joanna
Godfrey, Richard
First Published: 27-Nov-2017
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Citation: Organization, 2017
Abstract: Organisation studies has paid little attention to the contemporary private security industry, despite its enormous recent growth as a supplement to or replacement for state military services in theatres of conflict. To address this neglect, we investigate the workers at the heart of the industry; private security employees, or contractors. Amidst widespread and extremely critical media coverage of their activities, we consider the individual contractor as a central agent of contemporary conflict, identifying three main objections to their deployment; a lack of just cause, of virtue and of professional legitimacy. Using scholarship on identity work and stigma management more specifically, we analyse contractors’ accounts of their employment to identify the communicative strategies they employ to challenge the stigma attributed to their occupation and/ or to them as incumbents. Our data set is memoirs written by five British contractors, published between 2006 and 2011. We also suggest data such as these are under-utilised in organisation studies’ treatment of identity work, because they represent a distinctive form of this work which we label identity writing.
DOI Link: 10.1177/1350508417710830
ISSN: 1350-5084
eISSN: 1461-7323
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017, Sage Publications. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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