Saturday, June 20, 2009

A further take on Pirates and Privateers

Obviously my extended take on piracy, drawn in contrast to aspects of terrorism like anti-capitalism and mediated visibility, is only one of various possible approaches to the subject. In a fascinating piece of historical sociology, Bryan Mabee of the University of London, focuses on piracy in terms of historical changes in the contexts of war and violence.

"Historical accounts of private violence in international relations are often rather under-theorized and under-contextualized. Overall, private violence historically needs to be seen in the context of the relationship between state-building, political economy and violence, rather than through the narrative of states gradually monopolizing violence. Pirates and privateers in late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth century Europe were embedded in a broader political economy of violence which needed and actively promoted 'private' violence in a broader pursuit of power. As such, the de-legitimatization of piracy and privateering were the consequence of a number of interlinked political economic trends, such as the development of public protection of merchant shipping (through the growth of centralized navies), the move away from trade monopolies to inter-imperial trade, and the development of capitalism and industrialism. Present forms of private violence also need to be seen as part of a broader historical dynamic of war, violence and political economy."

Abstract for "Pirates, privateers and the political economy of private violence," _Global Change, Peace & Security_, Volume 21, Issue 2 (June 2009), pp. 139-152.

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