This Website was made for a cultural anthropology project and will attempt to deconstruct some of the reasoning behind the antinuclear movement and understand aspects of it from an anthropological point of view. Although the movement will be considered globally, the main focus is the antinuclear movement within Canada.
© Joe Bator/CORBIS
The Antinuclear Movement
With the world at war, a desire for power and influence became a highly sought-after quality. In the 1940s the British had already made substantial progress in the area of atomic energy, instigating a race for nuclear power that would change society. Canada however, was interested in a more peaceful use of nuclear power: industrialization. With a new found source of “clean” energy, entire cities could be powered and new economic opportunities would be presented. Despite the Canadian government’s apparent peaceful intentions, people began to question nuclear power and the government’s role. What started this movement? Why were people so inherently against nuclear power when they were not even aware of the science? The impacts of the Hiroshima bombings, the Vietnam War and the Cold war created a fear that one government could simply annihilate another without warning. Donald M. Bahr (2002: 218) defines the state as a “centralized, hierarchically organized society employing coercive power”. People feared state control and monopoly over such a powerful source of destruction. Through the influence of the environmental, women’s and peace movements, a movement was underway creating a sense of fear of state control and a want for a more democratic society. The core of any social movement must revolve around the state, for in order to make an impact a country’s government must be influenced (William Carroll 1997:200). Canadians were being forced to ask themselves the question: is nuclear energy worth it?