International relations scholarship has paid insufficient attention to security providers’ tendency to emulate the visual attributes of other actors in an attempt to (re)construct their identities and increase their legitimacy by signalling adherence to prevailing norms. Research on the discourses deployed by private military and security companies (PMSCs), for instance, has relied almost exclusively on the analysis of written documents. This article argues that even basic visual units like logos serve as windows into the genealogy and evolution of the international market for force. By combining insights from Peircean semiotics and institutionalist theory, I show that PMSCs’ logos are not only marketing tools, but also symbolic acts that shed light upon the shifting identities and legitimization strategies of the international private security industry. Specifically, I argue that PMSCs’ logos can be conceptualized as forms of camouflaging, blameshifting, mirroring and socialization into corporate identities. These overlapping processes have reshaped the international private security industry brandscape, informing a shift away from the use of logos displaying symbols and colours borrowed from military visual identity systems.

Private military and security companies’ logos : between camouflaging and corporate socialization

Eugenio Cusumano
2020

Abstract

International relations scholarship has paid insufficient attention to security providers’ tendency to emulate the visual attributes of other actors in an attempt to (re)construct their identities and increase their legitimacy by signalling adherence to prevailing norms. Research on the discourses deployed by private military and security companies (PMSCs), for instance, has relied almost exclusively on the analysis of written documents. This article argues that even basic visual units like logos serve as windows into the genealogy and evolution of the international market for force. By combining insights from Peircean semiotics and institutionalist theory, I show that PMSCs’ logos are not only marketing tools, but also symbolic acts that shed light upon the shifting identities and legitimization strategies of the international private security industry. Specifically, I argue that PMSCs’ logos can be conceptualized as forms of camouflaging, blameshifting, mirroring and socialization into corporate identities. These overlapping processes have reshaped the international private security industry brandscape, informing a shift away from the use of logos displaying symbols and colours borrowed from military visual identity systems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11570/3231023
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