Reserves forces and the privatization of the military by the nation state

Paul Higate, Neil Jenkings, Antonia Dawes, Tim Edmunds, Rachel Woodward

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


This chapter examines the UK Reserve armed forces and their relationships to the sociology of military and security privatization. The basic features of the UK Reserves are introduced, and an overview provided of how current policies aimed at their transformation sit within the context of wider military, economic and social changes. Some key features of military and security privatization in the UK are summarized to provide contextual information. The data source and methodological strategy is discussed. The chapter then considers features of Reservist participation which speak directly to the negotiations that Reservists conduct between their military participation and their lives as civilian employees and which speak to sociological ideas about the privatization of security. Reservists are considered in comparison with private military and security contractors for the insights this gives about the ways Reservists negotiate the contingencies of their military participation. The individualization which Reservists report is then explored. The chapter concludes with observations about the need to see the privatization of the military and security in terms which recognize the life-worlds of those involved in the process and who constitute part of the new security assemblage. We raise the issue of the potential problems of privatization as they pertain to military effectiveness, and consider the implications of individualization for wider military sociology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Sociology of Private Security
EditorsOri Swed, Thomas Crosbie
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Reserve Forces, Private Security, Sociology, State


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