Act 1. Shahrazad: Disarming Charm

  • Matthew Breay BoltonEmail author


Each night, to save her own life, Shahrazad is spared by her discursive skill, able to persuading a murderous ruler to stay her arbitrary execution. This ancient story, from the 1001 Nights, is a potent metaphor for disarmament advocacy, which seeks to persuade violent people to moderate their behavior. Traditional international relations (IR) scholarship has focused on the role of “hard power”—military and economic might—as the driver of change in the global system. However, academics and practitioners are increasingly realizing the role of narrative, stories and imagination in shaping what is seen as possible. In demonstrating the power of disarmament activists’ persuasion, this chapter highlights and reviews the insights of the “discursive turn” for IR.


Disarmament International relations Imagination 1001 Nights Discourse Narrative Mythology 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political SciencePace UniversityNew YorkUSA

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