Challenging nuclearism

A humanitarian approach to reshape the global nuclear order

By Marianne Hanson

Challenging nuclearism


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6509-1
  • Pages: 280
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: May 2022
  • BIC Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Arms Control, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Treaties, HISTORY / Military / Nuclear Warfare, Society & social sciences / International relations, International Humanitarian Law, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, International Relations, Nuclear weapons


Challenging nuclearism explores how a deliberate 'normalisation' of nuclear weapons has been constructed, why it has prevailed in international politics for over seventy years and why it is only now being questioned seriously. The book identifies how certain practices have enabled a small group of states to hold vast arsenals of these weapons of mass destruction and how the close control over nuclear decisions by a select group has meant that the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons have been disregarded for decades.

The recent UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will not bring about quick disarmament. It has been decried by the nuclear weapon states. But by rejecting nuclearism and providing a clear denunciation of nuclear weapons, it will challenge nuclear states in a way that has until now not been possible. Challenging nuclearism analyses the origins and repercussions of this pivotal moment in nuclear politics.



Part I: The dominance of nuclearism
1 Identifying the elements of nuclearism: Traditional framings normalize nuclear weapons
2 Nuclearism today: Modernization, the persistence of deterrence, and the rise of new dangers
3 Pushing for disarmament: A fruitless exercise

Part II: The transition - from the humanitarian initiative to the prohibition treaty
4 The recent humanitarian context: limiting the 'calamities of war'
5 Creating the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Part III: Rejecting nuclearism
6 Rejecting Nuclearism I: a new discourse; bringing humanitarianism back; new voices and actors; challenging material spending
7 Rejecting Nuclearism II: disrupting the nuclear order

Part IV: Ending nuclearism?
8 Challenges to and likely impacts of the treaty




Marianne Hanson is Associate Professor of International Relations at the School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland

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