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Private military security; whisky tourism

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 14 March 2012

The MIddle Eastern conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have been characterised by widespread deployment of private military and security companies. Their job has been to provide protection to army compounds, aid agencies and governments. Most of these men are American but a third are British. Laurie Taylor hears about new research by Professor Paul Higate, a Reader in Gender and Security at Bristol University. His study finds that British operatives see themselves as cool headed professionals but regard their American counterparts as 'trigger happy cowboys'. But is this perception an objective reality or a self serving illusion? The sociologist, Professor Anthony King, joins this discussion. Also, artifice versus authenticity on the traveller trail.
Professor Karl Spracklen from Leeds Metropolitan University talks about the quest for the 'real' and 'authentic'' in tourism. Whisky tours are now as central to Scottish tourism as buying heather or eating haggis. Has 'tasting a dram' become just another element in the construction of invented tradition?
Producer: Jayne Egerton.

  • Dr Paul Higate

    Reader in Gender and Security, School for Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS), University of Bristol

    Paper: Cowboys and Professionals: The Politics of Identity Work in the Private and Military Security Company
    doi: 10.1177/0305829811425752
    Millennium - Journal of International Studies
    January 2012 vol. 40 no. 2 321-341

    Find out more about Paul Higate
  • Anthony King

    Professor of Sociology at the University of Exeter

    The Transformation of Europe's Armed Forces
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    ISBN-10: 0521760941
    ISBN-13: 978-0521760942

    Find out more about Anthony King
  • Karl Spracklen

    Professor of Leisure Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University

    Paper: Dreaming of drams: authenticity in Scottish whisky tourism as an expression of unresolved Habermasian rationalities
    Leisure Studies journal
    Volume 30, Issue 1, 2011

    Find out more about Karl Spracklen
  • BSA Alcohol Studies event (14 March 2012)

    'Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Ambivalence of Alcohol?’

    Find out more about BSA event


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