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The roots of the arms race: An interpretive-historical approach concentrating on technological aspects

McMahon, Peter (1985) The roots of the arms race: An interpretive-historical approach concentrating on technological aspects. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis is an effort to identify the roots and dynamic of the contemporary 'arms race using' a syntheses of various perspectives. The basic approach is to trace the development of the technological aspects of military affairs in the modern period. Technology is then used as a reference point to investigate wider social, economic and political issues.

The main themes of the thesis are: 1/ the modern 'arms race’ is increasingly determined by technological features, 2/ it is necessary to recognise the social political and economic forces acting on the historical process of military-related technological development, and 3/ this process occurs in an environment of international relations which is also fundamentally, but not entirely, determined by technological factors.

The thesis attempts an overriding view of 'human society’ as opposed to any specific national perspective, but concentrates on the experiences of Britain and the United States as the nations of central importance in the development of global political-economy. It argues that in general, and especially in Britain and the U.S., military technology has had a major role in the general development of technological capability. This is especially true in that the major generative force in the development of the modern world has been and remains technologically-based industrial capitalism. The thesis argues that the radical increase in capability of military technology is part of the greater process of increasing state management of industrial societies, and especially technical innovation. The thesis concludes with the exposition of an interpretive framework to relate the identified processes of technological advancement and national military and political matters.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Inquiry
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Raser, John
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