, Number 9

Patricia Owens
This article evaluates recent literatures within International Relations on so-called 'private force'. It suggests that the conceptual weaknesses of much of this literature can be accounted for, in part, by a misunderstanding of the historical and sociological importance of the way power is organized and legitimated through shifts in the public-private distinction. This distinction is one of the primary mechanisms, if not the primary mechanism, for organizing political, economic and, therefore, military power.

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