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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the normative complexity of private security. It formulates a critique of the stigmatization of private security companies and of the emphasis in the literature on the limitations of legal regulation, highlighting the role of self-regulation in the form of corporate ethics and (international) branch standards. Based on a review of scholarly literature, (inter)national cases, and examples from fieldwork in South Africa, the chapter captures the growing plurality of actors and voices in a vastly diversifying private security sector. In order to overcome the traditional bias regarding private security and its corporate sector, the authors advocate an organizational anthropological approach to uncover regulatory alternatives and the ethical and normative diversity that is essential to a comprehensive understanding of the privatization of security.

Keywords: private security, stigmatization, normative complexity, regulation, ethics, security, organizational anthropology, South Africa

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