A conversation about feminist political economy at this juncture remains crucial, because gendered questions at the heart of international political economy continue to be neglected. “High Stakes: The ‘Investable’ Child and the Economic Reframing of Childcare.” Signs 34(3):687-710. Whilst Security Governance theory similarly identifies an increasing structural dependence upon PMC services amongst state actors, Governance scholars embrace the growing integration of PMC actors into state security structures as both a desirable and inevitable ‘delegation’ of security away from the state .
Finally, the third theme takes up gendered struggles for emancipation and equality, which leads to examinations of challenges to capitalism in the post–Cold War era; analyses of the class, race, and gender relations underlying particular strategies of empowerment or theoretical critiques of concepts such as emancipation, equality, and transformation; and the place of gender in current critiques of IPE. The past twenty years have witnessed several cases where the involvement of such forces have, during the course of their employment, has saved sovereign governments from potentially disastrous coup attempts and ended sustained periods of civil instability.
While the themes of production/consumption, exchange, and resistance underpin much feminist political economy scholarship, here we map three areas of analysis – governance, social reproduction and work, and sexuality and intimacy –where alternative feminist perspectives on IPE are clearly evident in ways that we believe analytically cut across these thematics. It is widely acknowledged by security scholars from across the theoretical spectrum that the PMC Executive Outcomes (EO), alongside other mercenary organisations, played a pivotal role in engineering peace in Angola during its 1993 civil war, and was again influential in the 1995 cessation of conflict in Sierra Leone during its lengthy civil war .
When we first set out to map the field of feminist political economy, in late 2007, the US and Europe were being shaken by economic crisis.[i] China and India appeared to be gaining prominence within global economic policy making, and throughout the world it seemed that advocates of free-market reform and deregulated finance capital were losing ground. It is a commonly held assertion amongst Realist critics of the PMC that, due to its corporate nature, the PMC tends towards exercising whatever influence it has over its clientele to maximise profit- as such, there exists a vested interest on behalf of the PMC actor in nurturing not only a logistical reliance, but an epistemic ‘culture of dependence’ on behalf of client states .
Six years later, with banking bonuses again skyrocketing and savage austerity policies in place across Europe, ‘the crisis’ (as many Northern scholars parochially term it) seems less a rupture than an opportunity to deepen neoliberal political and economic relations. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. It follows logically that, by surreptitiously undermining the capacity of the client state to provide its own security, the PMC maximises its political leverage and thus increases its chances of securing more profitable contract terms – the existence of a large body of critical literature that has adopted an inquiring eye into both the extent of ‘overspend’ on PMC services on behalf of state actors and the pervasive reach of corporate lobbying serves to suggest that Realist concerns over an abusive ‘culture of dependency’ between the PMC actor and the client state are strongly grounded in fact .
Globally, the United Nations’ 2009 Commission on the Status of Women meeting focused on the theme of equal sharing of responsibility between men and women, especially in the context of caregiving and HIV/AIDS, in further evidence that familialism is undergoing a resurgence as a model of securing care (Bedford 2010). Such non-state actors are assuming an ever-greater importance in matters of humanitarian relief and conflict resolution that inevitably have an impact on international security.
Against this, the need to critically interrogate the links between political economy and models of kinship from a queer antiracist perspective was noted nearly twenty years ago by Jacqui Alexander (1994), who identified the heteronormative nature of much feminist political economy as a barrier to comprehensive scholarship on gender and structural adjustment. Developing Partnerships: Gender, Sexuality, and the Reformed World Bank. In regions of chronic instability or military conflict where no one state possesses political hegemony, or where ideologically ‘friendly’ states otherwise lack the resources to adequately protect the interests of NSAs, increased levels of PMC activity can be accounted for by the desire of NSAs to protect their employees and assets.
Social Reproduction and Work The discussion of governance outlined above of course builds on key feminist debates regarding the public and the private, which shed light on the exclusion of social reproduction from what is recognized as work. “Mainstreaming Gender in Global Governance.” European Journal of International Relations8(3):339–73. However, we are able to asses the effect that the decision to hire mercenary forces as a sizeable contributor to state security has upon the stability of security in such regions.
Despite some differences of emphasis in feminist analyses, social reproduction has three key components: first, biological reproduction or the production of future labor, and the provision of sexual, emotional, and affective services (such as are required to maintain family and intimate relationships); second, unpaid production of both goods and services in the home, particularly of care, as well as social provisioning (by which we mean voluntary work directed at meeting needs in the community); and third, the reproduction of culture and ideology, which stabilizes dominant social relations.[iv] These components are institutionalized through gendered labor, discourses, and the organization of everyday life (Laslett and Brenner 1989). The potential for the PMC to assume a decisive and dangerous centrality to the power relations within the client state in such situations is clear .
While the family is considered the primary institution engaged in social reproduction, current feminist scholarship is developing the concept of the “care diamond” to examine the variations in the provision of this work between the market, state, community, and family (Razavi 2007, 20). “Heterosexism, Misrecognition, and Capitalism: A Response to Judith Butler.” Social Text 52–53 15(3–4):279-289. In cases where ‘weak’ or ‘failing’ client states have hired the services of PMC forces with military capabilities in quantitative and qualitative excess of their own, the sovereignty of the state actor is put at risk of being compromised through extortion or a simple refusal to fight.