Dr Helene Olsen
Lecturer in Defence Studies Education
Dr Helene Olsen is an expert in the historical and contemporary usages of private violence. Her research focuses on how the use of mercenaries and other forms of private security has been viewed by contemporaries, and how prevalent perceptions of mercenaries still affect our attitudes towards modern private military and security companies. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr Olsen uses tenets from linguistics, history, and political science to examine how mercenaries have been socially constructed.
Her current research project examines how “outsiders” are influencing the conflict in Ukraine.
- Private security
- The organisation of violence
- Violence and the state
- Morality and war
As part of the Defence Studies Department located at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in Shrivenham, Dr Olsen has taught military officers in various topics, including COIN operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, air power, and military strategy.
Previously, Dr Olsen has taught in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London and in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University.
- The Social Construction of Mercenaries: German Soldiers in British Service during the Eighteenth Century. Small Wars and Insurgencies, 2022
- Remote Warfare and the Utility of Military and Security Contractors. Remote Warfare: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 2021
- Who gets to fight? The de-legitimation of mercenaries and the search for the ideal polity. Violent Nonstate Actors in Conflict, 2020