Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Examining the discourse on nuclear weapons

Ghafele, Roya (2000): Examining the discourse on nuclear weapons. Published in: Disarmament Forum No. 2 (2000): pp. 77-87.

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Nuclear weapons and language - is there a connection? Linguistics is an established science, but what has it got to do with nuclear weapons? This article was inspired by several international disarmament negotiations where I noticed that diplomats work in a communicative reality related to the nuclear arms issue. But is anyone involved in this highly political process aware of the activity of that process of talking? Observations showed that the political problem around the issue of nuclear arms is often, among other things, a communication problem. There is a clear lack of research dealing with communicative aspects of the nuclear arms issue. This article is based on a preliminary empirical case study where officials from seven different countries (Austria, China, France, India, Israel, Japan and South Africa) were interviewed and asked to participate in a short association test. While every country has a particular way of perceiving and dealing with nuclear related issues, these interviews show that language is an essential element in constructing the social reality of nuclear disarmament.

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