Taking production relations seriously: the role of defence firms in armaments cooperation

Author (Person) ,
Series Title
Series Details Volume 27, Number 4, Pages 469-489
Publication Date December 2018
ISSN 0966-2839 (print) | 1746-1545 (online)
Content Type


Coordinating defence-industrial relations towards harmonising and facilitating procurement policies, production processes and the joint operability of their member-states’ national defence sectors, International Armaments Organisations (IAOs) play an important role in armaments cooperation. How can we explain their institutional development?

Existing literature tackles this question using International Relations theories to mid-range theories of institutions and integration. However, they adopt overly state-centric viewpoints, assume actor interests as given, and disregard the changes in the global economic landscape that constitute the backdrop of armaments cooperation.In response, we shift the focus onto a key group of actors: the defence firms.

Using a Neo-Gramscian Historical Materialist approach, we investigate how the globalisation of the defence market has created a transnational defence-industrial class in Europe, and demonstrate how its economic interests have fundamentally shaped the institutional frameworks of European IAOs. We focus on the Organisation for Joint Armaments Cooperation (OCCAR) and the European Defence Agency (EDA) to illustrate our argument.

Our conclusions have implications for the study of armaments cooperation, particularly highlighting how the economic nature of this policy domain necessitates a closer look at the global and regional production relations, and the agency of the defence firms.

Source Link https://doi.org/10.1080/09662839.2018.1520699
Subject Categories ,
Subject Tags
Keywords ,
International Organisations
Record URL https://www.europeansources.info/record/?p=514835