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

McLeish, Caitriona and Moon, Joshua R (2021) Sitting on the boundary: the role of reports in investigations into alleged use. The Nonproliferation Review. ISSN 1073-6700

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Abstract

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 tool, and efforts to revitalize and strengthen it have acknowledged a wide range of technical difficulties to overcome. This article emphasizes another aspect of the investigatory process: communicating the findings of an investigation. The article frames the investigation report as more than a technical recounting of what the investigators did and found, regarding it instead 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 article reflects on the guidance provided thus far and suggests there has been an implicit move toward seeing the reports as “boundary documents.” The suggestion made here 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: University of Sussex Business School > 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: 12 Mar 2021 16:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/87687

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