The Birth of Nuclear Eternity

This chapter reconnects modes of futures-making with the requirements of democracy by focusing on the naturalization of nuclear weapons and their removal from the realm of democratic choice at a particular point in time.
February 1, 2021

This chapter reconnects modes of futures-making with the requirements of democracy by focusing on the naturalization of nuclear weapons and their removal from the realm of democratic choice at a particular point in time. The chapter revolves around the concept of ‘nuclear eternity’ as a means of reducing public choices about the use of nuclear weapons. It critiques the idea that nuclear weapons have always been perceived as ‘here to stay’ and reassesses the dominant narrative about the 1960s as an emancipatory decade by arguing that the decade actually witnessed a significant shrinking of future political possibilities. Finally, the chapter identifies three shapes of the future which produce ‘nuclear eternity’—an absent post-nuclear future, an inconsistent post-nuclear future, and a disconnected post-nuclear future—and illustrates them with historical examples.

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