• Arms Control for the 21st Century: Controlling the Means of Violence

      Cooper, Neil; Mutimer, D. (2011)
      In the past two decades there has been an extensive reconceptualization of security and its associated practices, but there has been scant attention to questions of arms and their control. This article, and those which follow, seek to start a conversation about the control of the means of violence. We begin by drawing on the metaphor of arms control as science fiction in order to highlight notable features of the classical arms control literature. The article then discusses the ways contemporary arms control practice has evolved from a Cold War focus on parity and mutual vulnerability to a global control architecture characterized by the pursuit of absolute security via an ever-expanding range of non-proliferation initiatives aimed at rogues, rebels and terrorists. Consequently, in its post-Cold War, post-9/11 mode, contemporary arms control practice has been transformed into a form of global counter-insurgency. We suggest that the term controlling the means of violence (CMV) better captures the wide range of control initiatives that can be deployed to limit the instruments of armed violence. Finally, we summarize the arguments set out in the rest of the special issue and outline the future directions for research and activism suggested both by the papers collected in this volume and the broader discussions in the conferences that gave rise to them.