The Normative Complexity of Private Security: Beyond Legal Regulation and Stigmatization

Math Noortmann, Juliette Koning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Law and Anthropology
EditorsMarie-Claire Foblets, Mark Goodale, Maria Sapignoli, Olaf Zenker
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780191876226
ISBN (Print)9780198840534
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • private security
  • stigmatisation
  • ethics
  • security
  • organisational anthropology

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