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Title: Times are not a changin' : an analysis of U.S. nuclear strategic discourse and the drive towards conventionalization
Author: Fisher, Collin
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is primarily concerned with determining the driving influences discursive constructions have had on the conventionalization of United States nuclear strategy since 1945. Ever since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the US has struggled to make nuclear weapons a usable component of warfare and lift the unconventional characteristic later assigned to them. Utilizing constructivist theory and the Discursive Practices Approach described by Roxanne DOty, l I will analyze significant texts from the entire nuclear era. These cases advised policy and formed the foundation for US nuclear strategy during the Cold War and into the 21 sI century. I claim that these discourses have constructed a system of signification that has interlinked the strategies of using nuclear weapons in combat. Focusing on discursive practices as a unit of analysis can help establish how this 'reality' is sustained and how it makes practices and policies in US nuclear strategy possible. Moreover, I assert that US self-understanding of its identity, and that of the 'other', has pushed policy towards conventionalization and led to the evolution of strategy. I argue that regardless of changes to the international structure or technological advances, the continuity of US identity representations continue to be upheld. This continuity leads discourse and policy towards common ways of solving the socially constructed problem that is the usability of nuclear weapons. While it might be assumed that nuclear strategy and conventionalization policy is derived from 'objective' threats, such as an adversary's nuclear arsenal, I hope to show that this is not the case. Key Elements: Discursive Practices Approach, discourse analysis, constructivism, identity, conventionalization, tactical nuclear weapons, and US nuclear strategy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available