Table of Contents

Handbook of Governance and Security

Handbook of Governance and Security

Elgar original reference

Edited by James Sperling

The Handbook of Governance and Security examines the conceptual evolution of security governance and the different manifestations of regional security governance. In particular, James Sperling brings together unique contributions from leading scholars to explore the role of institutions that have emerged as critical suppliers of security governance and the ever-widening set of security issues that can be viewed profitably through a governance lens.

Chapter 22: Nonproliferation

Sebastian Harnisch

Subjects: politics and public policy, international politics, international relations, regulation and governance, terrorism and security


Nuclear nonproliferation is central to global security governance and will remain so in the foreseeable future. Since the demise of the Cold War, vertical proliferation – the increase in number, quality and dispersion of nuclear weapons by recognized nuclear weapon states – has become of less concern. In contrast, horizontal proliferation – the spread of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear weapon states and/or non-state actors not yet possessing them – has attracted much more attention. The 11 September attacks, the ‘nuclear renaissance’ – a tide of new nuclear power programs in recent years – and the Fukushima nuclear accident have raised the spectre of ‘nuclear terrorism’ and/or new and ‘less responsible nuclear (weapon) states’. This chapter focuses on the dynamic development of nuclear (non)proliferation governance without denying the importance of the determined efforts to prevent the spread of chemical and biological weapons as well as ballistic missiles to deliver them (Cirincione et al. 2005; Busch and Joyner 2009). Arguably, each class of weapons of mass destruction is inherently different: some are relatively easy to produce and hard to detect when used (biological and to some degree chemical weapons) but even harder to deliver effectively for military and/or political purposes; others (nuclear weapons) are hard to make and deliver but very effective politically (and perhaps also militarily) even if not used (for deterrence) (Perkovitch 2004). This chapter does not attempt to fully explain the emergence, persistence and deficits of the current nonproliferation security governance scheme (Findlay 2011).

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