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 approach.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Digitized via the E-THOS exercise.
Organisations: University of Southampton
ePrint ID: 43763
Date :
Date Event
October 2000Published
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 18:47
Further Information:Google Scholar

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