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Arms marketing, militarization and symbolic representation

Soldiers marching at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York in USA, 2013
Soldiers at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York, USA on 16 March 2013. Photo: Stuart Monk / Shutterstock

The arms industry produces military equipment and provides services to armed forces and ministries of defence worldwide. In 2014 the sales of the world’s 100 largest arms producing and military services companies (excluding China) totalled US $401 billion. Defence and security exhibitions, or ‘arms fairs’, provide global fora for the defence community to network, present emerging technologies and secure procurement contracts with national governments. Symbolically, it is also a venue where ‘threats to national security’ and their solutions are framed and defined through marketing materials, presentations and demonstrations.

Despite the central role that arms fairs play in military spending and the conceptualization of security, they are relatively understudied. This project interrogates the relationship between militarization, national security and gender in arms marketing and critically examines the symbolic representation of gender in the marketing of arms.

Research staff

Emma Bjertén-Günther is a Researcher within the SIPRI Peace and Development Programme.