The Humanitarian Initiative: A Critical Appreciation

  • Nina TannenwaldEmail author
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


This essay offers a critical evaluation of the campaign on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the resulting 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It highlights both accomplishments and limitations of the treaty. The treaty is a major achievement but is best seen as a stigmatization rather than a disarmament treaty. While the treaty may strengthen the nuclear taboo, the ultimate challenge is to undermine nuclear weapons as a currency of power. The essay reflects on four themes illustrated by the movement of civil society and non-nuclear states to achieve the ban treaty: processes of stigmatization, the democratization of disarmament politics, the advantages and disadvantages of codification, and normative strategies of disarmament more broadly.


Ban treaty Nuclear prohibition treaty Humanitarian campaign Disarmament 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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