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Power, violence, and nuclear weapons

Harrington, Anne I. ORCID: 2016. Power, violence, and nuclear weapons. Critical Studies on Security 4 (1) , pp. 91-112. 10.1080/21624887.2016.1177784

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This article contributes to an ongoing debate about the role of the thermonuclear revolution in realist thought and the viability of nuclear disarmament. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, it develops an immanent critique of balance-of-power theories of international politics. Immanent critique is a diagnostic process. It takes a thought system on its own terms and by revealing its contradictions from within, opens up new possibilities for transformation. This critique reveals how the ontological assumptions Kenneth Waltz makes about the nature of power allowed him, in the guise of an apolitical theory, to transform the violence of nuclear weapons from a threat to humanity into a source of security, and therefore a normative good. According to the logic of this argument, thinking past the limits of this thought system will necessarily need to include questioning and otherwise disrupting the tight association between violence and power.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Cardiff Law & Politics
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 2162-4887
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 September 2016
Date of Acceptance: 10 April 2016
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 21:46

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