Skip to main content

Politics and International Relations (PIR): People


Luba Zatsepina-McCreadie

Luba Zatsepina-McCreadie
Luba Zatsepina-McCreadie
Edinburgh UK
Research Interests
Nuclear Weapons, Identity, Non-proliferation, Post-structuralism, Discourse Analysis, Gender, Cold War, IR and Security studies


Dr. Claire Duncanson

Dr. Oliver Turner

PhD Research

My research emphasizes the significance of idealist approaches to nuclear proliferation. In contrast to rationalists, idealists do not see nuclear weapons as beneficial to states, even if those states face a security threat. They aim to challenge the traditional security models for explaining nuclear proliferation, suggesting that nuclear weapons may have other less obvious functions than defense.  Ideational approaches to nuclear proliferation focus on norms, ideas, and beliefs that shape actors’ preferences and interests, although different scholars place different factors at the centre of their analysis. These may include: norms, psychology of state leaders, and beliefs in symbolic value of nuclear weapons. My research looks at the role nuclear identities play in shaping nuclear decisions. Nuclear identity is made up of three components: firstly, political elites’ beliefs in the historical connection between power, recognition and nuclear weapons; secondly, their choice and action with regards to nuclear proliferation; thirdly, the perceptions of other states.  Political elites play a key role in constructing and maintaining nuclear identities, as they are principal decision makers when it comes to foreign and security policy. Thus, nuclear identities reflect political elites’ vision or understanding of how being nuclear relates to their state being a recognized power. Nuclear identity can be understood in a poststructuralist sense as discursive and relational. It is discursive, because it is constructed and articulated through words and narratives that elites use to justify and legitimize decisions and practices regarding nuclear proliferation. Nuclear identity is relational, because it is defined in relation to what it is not – through relations of difference. This brings in the significance of gender to nuclear identity framework. Gender is seen to function as a symbolic system that highlights existing dichotomous structures within politics and IR, because the very meaning of masculinity and femininity is defined through its relation to the ‘other’ (Cohn at al., 2005: 1). Thus, gender is integrated into the nuclear identity framework as an analytical tool for uncovering these dichotomous structures and looking at the ways nuclear identities are constructed and articulated through relations of difference.

My research adopts a case study approach and focuses on nuclear decisions of the US and the USSR. These include the initial decision to launch a nuclear weapons program and rapid vertical proliferation during the Cold War. Using discourse analysis, I look at historic documents and secondary sources in order to make an understanding of how US-USSR self-other rhetoric influenced practices related to nuclear proliferation.


MSc Sociology and Global Change, University of Edinburgh 2012-2013.
BSc (Hons) Sport and Recreation Management + Sociology, University of Edinburgh 2008-2012.



Study Skills (Convenor)

Introduction to Politics and International Relations (Senior Tutor)

Global Security


Introduction to Politics and International Relations (Senior Tutor)

Global Security

Sport and Society

2014/ 2015

Introduction to Politics and International Relations

Sociology 1B


'Nuclear Orientalism and the Production of Danger' (Global Security, Spring 2016)


PIR Tutor Prize 2016 (runner-up)

EUSA Teaching Award Nominee 2015; 2016 (Best student who tutors; Best overall teacher)