Marianne Hanson
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Identifying the elements of nuclearism
The traditional framings that normalized nuclear weapons
in Challenging nuclearism
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This chapter explores the elements which have enabled and supported nuclearism over the past seventy-five years. The building of nuclearism can be seen as intertwined with the creation of a nuclear hegemony, one that has allowed for the imposition of a particular global nuclear order. These elements of nuclearism are as follows: the language used to describe the role of nuclear weapons and the overall discourse that this has created; the suppression of humanitarian concerns about nuclear weapons, and the deliberate avoidance of acknowledging the implications of nuclear weapons’ use; the decision-making processes and the ‘exclusivity’ which has enabled national security elites to plan for nuclear war largely free from public oversight, in essence denying any real democratic deliberation on the topic and insulating decision-makers from external questioning; the material costs devoted to nuclear weapons programmes, which has served to elevate the status of these weapons; and the subversion of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its associated regime by the P5 states, in their attempt to ensure that the global nuclear order remains essentially static, always favouring themselves, the ‘recognized’ nuclear states, as the hegemons of this order.

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Challenging nuclearism

A humanitarian approach to reshape the global nuclear order


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