Sunday, 7 February 2010

Political Geographies of Mars: A History of Martian Management

An encouraging quote from Christy Collis's article about satellites and GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit):

"My experience as a Space cultural theorist demonstrates that this experience of the lack of understanding of the centrality of space at times leads to condemnation of Space scholarship: when people are starving on Earth, I've been scolded, how can you morally justify sitting around thinking about Outer Space...Yet, Space is imbricated into our lives, our social organization, our cultures, and the power politics of the world."

She certainly makes a convincing case, noting how military usage of these networks amounts to around 40%. Of course, these public voices/private interests, encompass a lot more than that:

I'm also impressed by how Collis extends her conception of Space in ways that could complement the radical imagination of Kim Stanley Robinson. This is the abstract of an article she co-authored with Phil Graham, which appeared in Management and Organization Theory (4, 3, 2009, pp 247-261):

"The task of this article is to provide an analysis of the uneven terrain of Martian political geographies in the context of western political economic trajectories. Focusing on debates over the nature of Mars’s legal status, the article attends to a key question, a question that has not yet been answered: should Mars be a terra communis — the common property of humanity, unavailable as private property — a terra nullius or space available for private property claims — or a ‘cosmic park’ space of intrinsic value? That is, should Mars be claimable space, and if so, how could it be transformed into a possession, and by whom? By outlining arguments both for and against the idea of Mars as available for claiming and colonization, the article demonstrates that when it comes to Mars, the historical processes of imperial and capitalist management and organization of ‘new’ spaces are not the only options available for humans’ relationships with Mars".

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