Title

Organizational Frames for Professional Claims: Private Military Corporations and the Rise of the Military Paraprofessional

Publication Date

2012

Journal

Social Problems

Volume

59

Issue

3

First Page

322

Last Page

340

Abstract

Corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and other organizational forms are major players in the sodal world. Recently, sociological scholarship on organizations has converged with research on the professions to discuss the ways in which professions are shaped or influenced by different organizational forms. In this article, I borrows from the notion of framing within social movement research to argue that organizational forms frame the bids of aspiring professionals. More specifically, I argue that certain organizational forms-such as that of the modern corporation-can aid would-be professionals in making their claims for professional recognition. Organizations do this, I argue, by providing aspiring professionals with a ready-made setting, rationale, and guarantees that make the newcomers more easily recognizable as professionals to outside audiences. I explore this argument by examining how the corporate form has facilitated private military contractors in their attempts to legitimate and develop this highly controversial new industry. The data are drawn from my interviews with private military contractors, state officials, and other interested parties surrounding private military corporations, as well as from archival data that detail the rise of the private military industry.

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