Human Security Lab to Expand Disarmament Research
Charli Carpenter, Human Security Lab researcher and professor of political science, received a small grant from the International Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons this summer to continue research into the impacts of the new nuclear ban treaty on American attitudes toward the use of nuclear weapons, as part of the Lab’s Humanitarian Disarmament Initiative.
The money will fund the work of UMass students and former students trained in Human Security Lab’s qualitative data analysis methodology to systematically analyze and code over 1400 open-ended comments from a survey experiment conducted on citizens attitudes toward nuclear strikes before and after receiving information on the nuclear ban treaty, in the days just after the treaty was negotiated. “This data is going to help us understand not only how information in different kind of treaties affects citizen attitudes toward the legality of nuclear weapons, but also why that is the case,” Carpenter says.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a broad, inclusive campaign, focused on mobilizing civil society around the world to support the specific objective of prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons. ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its efforts to achieve the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in January 2021. More recently, ICAN has sought to encourage and support research on nuclear disarmament, which often receives less funding relative to other kinds of work on nuclear security, non-proliferation and deterrence.
The Human Security Lab team working on the project includes six student coders, and also two recently graduated UMass students in data analytics and political science, and has also involved collaborations with the late Bernhard Leidner in the Department of Psychology at University of Massachusetts and with Alexander Montgomery of Reed College. The team aims to publish a research article in a top journal within the year and present their research at the Meeting of State Parties to the Nuclear Ban Treaty in November 2023.
According to Carpenter, “This kind of academic-practitioner partnership, where our research addresses questions of use to those individuals attempting to create a safer world, is exactly what the Lab was designed for.”
This article first appeared on the Human Security Lab website.