A Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the Australian National University
For Sharon and Eve
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A Ph.D. dissertation has both a context and lengthy genealogy. This one is no exception. Along the way a great many debts of gratitude have been incurred. My thanks go first to my wife, Sharon and my daughter. Morgana, for their support and patience through a long journey, both figuratively and literally.
My thanks go also to my supervisors John Girling and Moira Gatens for their encouragement and challenging criticism. A special thanks to my external adviser Mick Dillon who encouraged and sustained me throughout and who made distance very short through the electronic mail.
I acknowledge too, the support of Jim Richardson, whose open-mindedness made possible a space for those who paved my way, especially Jim George and David Campbell, and who, as Head of the Department of International Relations at the ANU provided a generous allocation of resources, including the funding that made possible my overseas fieldwork.
In the course of that fieldwork I derived benefit from stimulating discussions with a number of people who gave freely of their time, and in some cases accommodation. Among these were Richard Ashley, Rob Walker, Brad Klein, Mick Dillon, Catherine Belsey, Mark Hoffman and Ole Waever.
Thanks too, to my interviewees in the British Ministry of Defence and at NATO Headquarters in Brussels who gave me a valuable insight into how arms control is conducted in practice. I acknowledge too, the generosity of NATO in accommodating me while in Brussels, and of the particular consideration given by Special Adviser Dr. Jamie Shea.
Thanks also to Desmond Ball, Alexei Arbatov, Coral Bell, Ian Bellany, Greg Fry, Adrew Mack, Simon Dalby, Jim George, David Campbell and Trevor Findlay, whose discussion and comments were informative and constructive.
I also thank Professor Horst Ruthrof of Murdoch University, who in no small way equipped me for this joumey.
The responsibility for any errors is, of course, entirely mine.
States are dynamic entities. This thesis argues that one of the reasons that States are so dynamic is that the processes that underlie their formation are essentially dialogic - literally, of dialogue, or discourse. This thesis takes as its starting point the notion that in order to analyse the process of state-making it is important to take account, not only of the grand foundational practices of establishing constitutions and fighting wars, but of the almost mundane, day-to-day practices that reinstate the state at every turn.
One way to observe the practice of state-maintenance is to note and observe the disruptions and discontinuities by which state-making reveals itself in the 'patching-up', or maintenance of its notional boundaries. This thesis argues that the fragility of state-making reveals itself when the state is most loudly maintaining and proclaiming its security and integrity.
One arena in which this can be observed is in the practices that maintain an arms control regime such as, for example, SALT I and II. By observing and analysing the operation of the SALT Standing Consultative Commission through its handling of compliance issues between the US and the Former Soviet Union, it is argued that one can observe the operation, at a specific site, of state-making, and the effects of a shift in ideological practice upon the processes of state making in the United States.
In the historical changes that came about with the change in administration from Carter to the first Reagan administration, the arms control process was challenged to survive in an era of uncertainty in which discourse about the state invoked a discourse of danger.
Drawing on the broadly-termed 'post-structural' perspectives from literary theory, this thesis undertakes a 'close reading' or textual analysis approach to the empirical texts performed by the arms control community about the relationship between arms control and the concept of the state with which it operates. Contrary to the assumptions of those critical of post structuralist approaches, this thesis does not reject the empirical along with its rejection of empiricism. Where this thesis uses or implies such terms as 'construct', or 'invention' or 'texting' such usage is intended to imply the anthropological or sociological senses of these terms, rather than glib 'common-sense' notion of things being arbitrarily 'made up.' As a result, preference is given to the term 'construe' over 'construct' to emphasise the precedence given to meaning over inherent structure.
The analytical approach taken here is rigorously concerned with the kind of world one needs to presuppose in order to make sense of the texts produced through arms control discourse. To perform such an analysis one must draw upon actual, 'real,' records of behaviours conducted in the name of the state - hence the concern with empirical records that, in the reading, are produced as text. The principal underlying assumption explored in this thesis is that states, like other 'identities' (family, individual, institution etc), are the products, or symptoms of those practices that are engaged with the maintenance of boundaries 'in the name of the state or other 'identity' so produced.
It is argued that such an approach offers a useful explanation of the historically demonstrated instability of such large-scale identity-structures as states.
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