Strategic culture and non-nuclear weapon outcomes: the cases of Australia, South Africa and Sweden

Poore, S.E. (2000) Strategic culture and non-nuclear weapon outcomes: the cases of Australia, South Africa and Sweden. University of Southampton, Department of Politics, Faculty of Social Sciences, Doctoral Thesis , 263pp.


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This thesis uses a "strategic culture" approach to gain insights into non-nuclear
weapon outcomes in Australia, South Africa and Sweden. Strategic culture
refers to the ideational and cultural pre-dispositions possessed by states
towards military strategic issues. The theoretical aim for this research is to
explore the various conceptions of strategic culture offered in the literature and
to evaluate the potential benefits of conducting strategic cultural research.
Strategic Studies has traditionally been dominated by realist theories, which
typically provide rationalist materialist explanations for outcomes. This thesis
highlights the relevance of domestic strategic cultural context to strategic
decision-making and, in the process, explores the potential inadequacies of
non-cultural strategic analysis. It will be contended that strategic culture is illsuited
to provide an alternative theory to explain causes of outcomes. Instead
it provides an approach for investigating the "cultural conditions of possibility"
for strategic decision-making. These will be seen as constituting the
assumptions made by theories that pursue rationalist materialist ontologies.
Non-nuclear weapon outcomes are potentially problematic for realist
explanations by suggesting instances of states not maximising their power by
acquiring the most powerful weaponry. This thesis focuses on non-nuclear
decision-making in Australia, South Africa and Sweden. In each case it is
possible to identify distinctive strategic cultural proclivities which have shaped
perceptions of security-material factors. The aim is therefore to provide a thick
description of these cultural tendencies and to explore how they affect nuclear
decision-making. This will provide insights into why the non-cultural accounts
which dominate the literature on these non-nuclear outcomes, might be
inadequate. Equally, it will emphasise the value of pursuing a strategic culture

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Digitized via the E-THOS exercise.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Politics and International Relations
ePrint ID: 43763
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
October 2000Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:28

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