The New Right Stuff: Social Imaginaries of Outer Space and the Capitalist Accumulation of the Cosmos

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This thesis utilizes ethnographic and historical data in order to propose that the trajectory of outer space imaginaries—and therefore, as will be demonstrated, the future realities of outer space affairs—has drifted from peaceful exploration to violent exploitation due to the rise of private space corporations (operating under the moniker of NewSpace). This is partially due to the increasing acceptance of neoliberal capitalism within the United States—and much of the Global North—since the 1970s. Furthermore, NewSpace companies —which now possess multi-billion dollar contracts with governmental space agencies—are zealous adopters of neoliberal economics, and these philosophies are tied to colonial conceptions of the individual, limited governance, unchecked resource extraction, and frontier mentalities. These concepts became apparent during my multi-sited ethnographic investigations of NewSpace—as well as governmental—facilities and museums. This thesis argues that these hegemonic economic ontologies must be met with resistance from social scientists, science fiction authors, and the public in order to create a human future in outer space that is equitable, decolonized, and democratic.

Genovese, T. R. (2017, July 5). The New Right Stuff: Social Imaginaries of Outer Space and the Capitalist Accumulation of the Cosmos. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/r3fpc


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