Nuclear Weapons Scholarship as a Case of Self-Censorship in Security Studies

Publication Categories: 

Security studies scholarship on nuclear weapons is particularly prone to self-censorship. In this essay, Pelopidas argues that this self-censorship is problematic. The vulnerability, secrecy, and limits to accountability created by nuclear weapons (Deudney 2007, 256–57; Born, Gill, and H^anggi 2010; Cohen 2010, 147) call for responsible scholarship vis-a-vis the general public. This need for renewed and expanded scholarly responsibility is especially pressing given current plans among nuclear-weapon states to “modernize” their nuclear arsenals, committing their citizens and children to live in nuclear-armed countries and, a fortiori , a nuclear armed world (Mecklin 2015). Despite this need, the existing reflexive literature in security studies—calling for greater scholarly responsibility (see Steele and Amoureux 2016; Waever 2015, 95–100)—has neither specifically focused on nuclear weapons nor explored the forms of self-censorship identified here as shaping a modality of responsibility. In making this case, Pelopidas defines self-censorship in nuclearweapons scholarship asunnecessaryboundaries onscholarlydiscourse within securitystudies