South Africa and Nuclear Order
: Between 'Local' Technopolitics and 'global' Hegemony

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis is an investigation into South Africa’s interactions with the global nuclear order, from apartheid to the present day. Since the advent of the apartheid nuclear programme, South Africa has found itself in constant interaction with nuclear order, with the order helping to shape its domestic technical and political landscapes, and with Pretoria itself contributing significantly to the present-day constitution of the nuclear order. The significant contribution to knowledge here comes from bringing South Africa’s ‘local’ nuclear technopolitics into conversation with a critical reading of the ‘global’ nuclear order, and interrogating the multiple theoretical and political functions of the assumed categories of ‘local’ and ‘global’ in world nuclear politics. The small amount of existing work on this topic has been hamstrung by a very limited engagement with important concepts, including even conventional readings of global nuclear order. I apply an original conceptual framework which draws on mainstream International Relations theory, critical nuclear politics, and the extradisciplinary concepts of ‘technopolitics’ and ‘nuclearity’. Drawing on archival and interview fieldwork as well as secondary sources, I offer a radically new understanding of South Africa’s important role in world nuclear history—as well as a contribution to the growing critical literature on global nuclear
Date of Award2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorJan Růžička (Supervisor) & Mustapha Pasha (Supervisor)

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