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Mercenaries – The History of a Norm in International Relations - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Mercenaries: The History of a Norm in International Relations

Sarah Percy


The main aim of this book is to argue that the use of private force by states has been restricted by a norm against mercenary use. It traces the evolution of this norm, from mercenaries in medieval Europe through to private security companies in modern day Iraq, telling a story about how the mercenaries of yesterday have evolved into those of today in the process. The norm against mercenaries has two components. First, mercenaries are considered to be immoral because they use force outside legitimate, authoritative control. Second, mercenaries are considered to be morally problematic because t ... More

Keywords: private force, mercenary use, private security, Iraq, morality, medieval Europe, citizen armies, international law, Executive Outcomes, Sandline

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2007 Print ISBN-13: 9780199214334
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199214334.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sarah Percy, author
Research Associate, Oxford Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War, Oxford University.
Author Webpage