Making nuclear possession possible: The NPT disarmament principle and the production of less violent and more responsible nuclear states

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Abstract

This article interrogates the disarmament principle under Article VI of the NPT, drawing attention to how the disarmament discourse shapes and reproduces the nuclear status quo. Building on the work of Kimberly Hutchings and Maja Zehfuss, I argue that the disarmament discourse renders nuclear possession more acceptable. It enables nuclear states to present themselves as less violent and more responsible actors glossing over the nature of possessing nuclear weapons. Using a feminist poststructuralist lens and examining empirical illustrations, the article explains how declarations of strict observance of the disarmament principle reaffirm traits and values that underpin social expectations of what is considered ethical and appropriate in nuclear politics. Moreover, it shows how the rhetorical commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons reinstitutes and preserves existing understandings around nuclear responsibility that define the bounds of acceptable nuclear possession, perpetuating the dominant status quo.

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APA

Panico, C. (2022). Making nuclear possession possible: The NPT disarmament principle and the production of less violent and more responsible nuclear states. Contemporary Security Policy. https://doi.org/10.1080/13523260.2022.2092679

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