Sitting on the boundary: the role of reports in investigations into alleged use

McLeish, Caitriona and Moon, Joshua (2019) Sitting on the boundary: the role of reports in investigations into alleged use. The Nonproliferation Review. ISSN 1073-6700 (Accepted)

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (484kB)


Concerns that biological weapons will be used has focused attention on the need to develop a capability to independently investigate any allegation of use. The United Nations Secretary General’s Mechanism is one such mechanism and efforts to revitalise and strengthen this mechanism have acknowledged a wide range of technical difficulties which need to be overcome. This paper emphasises another aspect of the investigatory process – the communication of the results and findings of an investigation. The paper frames the investigation report as more than a technical recounting of what the investigators did and found, instead regarding it as the means by which the policy making audience ‘makes sense’ of the allegation. Drawing on literatures associated with science policy and ‘boundary objects’ the paper reflects on the guidance provided thus far and suggests there has been an implicit move towards seeing the reports as ‘boundary documents’. The suggestion made in this paper is that this implicit recognition should be now made explicit so that the critical position of the report is better appreciated. This has implications for the training of rostered experts.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Biological Weapons; Investigations; United Nations Secretary General; Reports; Boundary Objects
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Research Centres and Groups: Harvard Sussex Program
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ4835 International organisations and associations > JZ4850 Intergovernmental organizations. IGOs > JZ4935 United Nations
J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ5511.2 Promotion of peace. Peaceful change > JZ5587 International security. Disarmament. Global survival
Depositing User: Caitriona McLeish
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2019 11:47
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2019 11:47

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update