Critical Perspectives on Military Markets

Authored by: Anna Leander

The Routledge Research Companion to Security Outsourcing in the Twenty-first Century

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472426833
eBook ISBN: 9781315613376
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042228


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‘Yet, another “critical” perspective. Who can be bothered?’ may be the reaction of some readers to the title of this contribution. There are at least three common reasons for this reaction all grounded in the tainted reputation of critical approaches to military markets (but also beyond). First, critical perspectives are too negative. They always show how ‘bad’ military markets are. Since their answer is already given and no amount of evidence could alter it, why bother reading? Critical is simply negative to the point of being biased. Second, critical is too abstruse. A lot of ‘critical approaches’ never seem to deal with the empirical issues, with figures and hard facts. Instead they spin with theoretical yarns that often come in foreign colours, including the French or the post-colonial. They therefore arrive at conclusions which no one can really care about except possibly the foreigners who exported the yarn and those trying to import it. Third and finally, critical scholars seem to be engaged in a never-ending game of accusing everyone else including each other of not being critical, or of not being critical enough or of not being critical in the right way. Not only is this game boring. It also seems counterproductive for anyone interested in anything else than academic positioning. The ‘you are not critical – enough – in the right way’ accusation seems good enough to end the conversation.

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