Taking Aim at the Arms Trade

NGOS, Global Civil Society and the World Military Order

Anna Stavrianakis


Offers a look at the ways in which NGOs portray the arms trade as a problem of international politics and the strategies they use to effect change and contribute to the generation of consent for a hierarchical and asymmetrical world military order, facilitating intervention in the global South based on liberal understandings of the arms trade.
Taking Aim at The Arms Trade: NGOs, Global Civil Society and the World Military Order takes a critical look at the ways in which NGOs portray the arms trade as a problem of international politics and the strategies they use to effect change.

NGOs have been pivotal in bringing the suffering caused by the arms trade to public attention, documenting its negative impact on human rights, conflict, security and development around the world, and pushing for measures to control or eradicate the trade. Overall, however, their activity has helped sideline debate on Northern military predominance while facilitating intervention in the South based on liberal understandings of the arms trade, conflict, development and human rights. They thus contribute to the perpetuation of a hierarchical world military order and the construction of the South as a site of Northern benevolence and intervention.

Stavrianakis exposes the tensions inherent in NGOs' engagement with the arms trade and argues for a re-examination of dominant assumptions about NGOs as global civil society actors.

Author Bio

Anna Stavrianakis is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Sussex. Her main research interests are NGOs and global civil society; the arms trade and military globalisation; and critical approaches to the study of international security.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • 1. Conceptualising global civil society
  • 2. What's the problem? NGOs and the arms trade
  • 3. NGO strategies and the disciplining of global civil society
  • 4. Arming the North: Transatlantic and European military production and trade
  • 5. Disciplining the South: Development and human rights concerns in the arms trade
  • 6. Disarming the South: Small arms and conflict
  • 7. NGOs, global civil society and the world military order
  • Bibliography


'This well-researched, incisive study is essential reading for anyone concerned with the possibilities of change and challenges to military power in our society.'
Martin Shaw, University of Sussex

'Anna Stavrianakis has written a critical account of non-governmental activism that challenges preconceived notions of the progressive and benevolent nature of civil society, and sheds light on the complex inter-relationships between states and NGOs, and between interests and power.'
Keith Krause, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva

'Anna Stavrianakis brilliantly researched book provides an original and critical examination of the relationship between NGOs and the international arms trade.'
Mark Duffield, University of Bristol

'Anna Stavrianakis combines detailed analysis with critical insights in a manner that is both illuminating and stimulating and raises issues that are at the core of civil society. She has written a book that deserves to be read and thought about not just by activists and policy advisers but by anyone in the academic community and, indeed, in politics as a whole, who is concerned with peaceful social change.'
Paul Rogers, Bradford University


Publication Date: 10 June 2010
224 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781848132696
Hardback: 9781848132689
eBook ePub: 9781848139008
eBook PDF: 9781848132702
eBook Kindle: 9781780328799

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