The matter of media in outer space: Technologies of cosmobiopolitics

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© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015. Media technologies are steadily populating outer space – satellites and their debris clutter earth’s orbital regions, robotic rovers are surveying Mars, exploratory probes are appraising moons, planets and asteroids in our solar system and further still. Drawing together a range of these earth-born human-made devices, this paper reframes them as an object of critical inquiry into the human ‘mediatic’ condition. These technologies occupy outer space as extraterrestrial footprints of global capitalism, and they provide the vital infrastructure for its ‘high-tech’ pursuit of power, knowledge and wealth. Yet, their presence in space exerts its own material and social effects, unsettling strategic attempts to control the productive ambits of life, thus complicating what is at stake in the purview of biopolitical governance. Extending Michel Foucault’s concept of biopolitics into outer space, this paper explores the ways in which human relations with space-based media apparatus reinforce new approaches to the governance of life and the living, shaping the horizon of the ‘cosmobiopolitical’ on and beyond the globe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-906
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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