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This new Handbook offers a comprehensive overview of current research on private security and military companies, comprising essays by leading scholars from around the world. The increasing privatization of security across the globe has been the subject of much debate and controversy, inciting fears of private warfare and even the collapse of the state. This volume provides the first comprehensive overview of the range of issues raised by contemporary security privatization, offering both a survey of the numerous roles performed by private actors and an analysis of their implications and effects. Ranging from the mundane to the spectacular, from secretive intelligence gathering and neighbourhood surveillance to piracy control and warfare, this Handbook shows how private actors are involved in both domestic and international security provision and governance. It places this involvement in historical perspective, and demonstrates how the impact of security privatization goes well beyond the security field to influence diverse social, economic and political relationships and institutions. Finally, this volume analyses the evolving regulation of the global private security sector. Seeking to overcome the disciplinary boundaries that have plagued the study of private security, the Handbook promotes an interdisciplinary approach and contains contributions from a range of disciplines, including international relations, politics, criminology, law, sociology, geography and anthropology. This book will be of much interest to students of private security companies, global governance, military studies, security studies and IR in general.