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Title: Afrikanerdom and nuclear weapons : a cultural perspective on nuclear proliferation and rollback in South Africa
Author: McNamee, Terence.
ISNI:       0000 0000 4169 0125
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis focuses on the history of nuclear weapons proliferation and rollback in South Africa. The main challenge it poses relates to statements and written accounts by former South African officials published since 1993, which emphasize new external threats as the sole incentive for building the weapons and their disappearance as a necessary condition for dismantling them. This study contends that their strict focus on national security considerations has obscured vital influences and incentives that shaped nuclear decision making. The alternative perspective developed in this study argues that certain core tenants of Afrikaner culture significantly enhanced the lure of the nuclear weapons option and informed nuclear decision making, from the beginning of South Africa's nuclear weapons programme until its termination. The focus on culture generates questions about the veracity of key aspects of the official account, such as the start-date of the programme and the reasons for nuclear rollback, which have not been subject to thorough scholarly investigation due to the destruction of all nuclear weapons-related documents. Underlying this study is the now widely-held assumption in IR that states' strategic postures are not derived solely, or perhaps even primarily, from crude 'material interests' or rational calculations. Rather, actors are sensitive to material conditions (e. g., relative capabilities) in a culturally unique way. South Africa's nuclear weapons programme is presented as an outcome of a dynamic interplay between the culture of the state's former ruling minority, the Afrikaners, and structural or external factors. The Security Culture approach developed by Keith Krause in his work on arms control issuesi s adopted to systematically assessh ow the Afrikaners' collective understandings, values, traditions, beliefs, perceptions and self-perceptions were implicated in South Africa's nuclear history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available