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The nuclear taboo and the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons

Author: Matthew Bolton

In: Revista de Direito Brasileira (Brazilian Journal of Law), Vol 22, No 9, 2019, pp. 318-325

This article explores the development of the ‘nuclear taboo’ and ICAN’s creative manipulation of discourses of nuclear pollution. ICAN placed people who had long been marginalized by nuclear diplomacy – Atomic Bomb survivors, women, indigenous people, civilians, representatives of small states – at the centre of the debate about conversation about nuclear weapons. In doing so, ICAN deconstructed discourses legitimating nuclear weapons, revealing the ambivalence and fear underneath diplomatic euphemism. ICAN also turned the stigma associated with nuclear weapons onto those who defended them.