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Political Topographies Of Private Security In Sub-Saharan Africa

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Chapter Summary

This chapter highlights a novel topography of power in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa: private security. It provides an overview of the academic literature emerging around this phenomenon and illustrates it with examples of this 'political topography of private security' in the DRC and South Africa. Based on this literature and looking only at formal private security companies (PSC) engaged in guarding activities, the main point this chapter attempts to convey is that, from a macro-perspective, a pattern arises whereby PSC are utilised to mediate the interaction between international actors and surrounding 'local populace' and are a significant way for African political elites to retain control over the allocation and distribution of economic resources. What this chapter adds is that PSC fulfil this function by locally constituting both materially and symbolically the contested border between formal and informal spheres of activities in Sub- Saharan Africa.

Keywords: political topographies; private security; Sub-saharan Africa



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