Nuclearism, human rights and constructions of security (part 1)

Ken Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This two‐part article examines the threat of nuclear weapons and the promise of human rights in terms of a clash between two distinctive cultures regarding the construction of security, regionally and globally. Part 1 seeks to explain the reasons why the hopes for progressive nuclear marginalisation in the 1990s have not been realised, describes the dangers of indefinite nuclearism, and examines the strategic rationality and global institution‐building potential of working to construct a nuclear weapons‐free world. The article begins by showing how the continuing crisis in the Gulf can be seen as a test‐bed for different cultures of security. Part 2 will examine in more detail the clash between the two cultures — nuclear rites and human rights ‐ and will discuss the conditions that might deliver a sustainable peace. A key move in this regard involves the recognition that human rights must be at the heart of any comprehensive notion of security (human security and not simply that of states or regimes) and that a human rights culture is intrinsic to the construction of security communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 1999


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