Title: The civil paradox: Swedish arms production and export and the role of emerging security technologies
Authors: Sebastian Larsson
Addresses: Department of Economic History and International Relations, Stockholm University, Universitetsvägen 10 A, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Abstract: How is the notion of 'civil security' at work within and for arms companies? What are its technological and socio-political roles? The article analyses the early 2000s transformations of the Swedish arms industry with focus on its largest company Saab, and how civil security technologies have become assembled into ambiguous 'systems' that through a logic of scalability can move between different areas of practice; from refugee detention to policing to border surveillance. It concludes that arms companies increasingly absorb their most sophisticated technologies from civil (rather than military) R&D, and that they can use these for piecing together 'one-stop shop' packages of security- and defence products. The notion of civil security also serves as a socio-political façade of 'innovation' and 'neutrality' with which the industry can masquerade an interest in human rights, attract young professionals, and obscure the negotiations of arms trade delegations abroad.
Keywords: arms industry; civil security; border control; scalability; dual-use; Sweden; nation-branding; innovation; human rights; arms export.
International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, 2020 Vol.6 No.1/2, pp.26 - 51
Received: 25 Feb 2019
Accepted: 31 Oct 2019
Published online: 13 Jul 2020 *