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Nuclear weapons as the currency of power

Harrington, Anne 2009. Nuclear weapons as the currency of power. The Nonproliferation Review 16 (3) , pp. 325-345. 10.1080/10736700903255029

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There are important similarities between the pattern of behavior Karl Marx identified with respect to commodities—a pattern he called “fetishism”—and the pattern of behavior identified in this article with respect to military force. Marx identified money as the mature expression of commodity fetishism; the author identifies nuclear weapons as the mature expression of the fetishism of force. As such, nuclear weapons function as the currency of power in the international system. This article lays out a theory of nuclear fetishism by adapting four themes that are characteristic of the pattern of behavior known as fetishism: materiality, historicality, efficacy, and reification. By applying these categories to the fetishism of nuclear weapons, the author shows that nuclear weapons represent a new social form consistent with, yet distinct from, other fetish objects.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1073-6700
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 September 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:25

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