(EN) Space community as an enabler of cosmopolitan ideas through Large Technical Systems (in review)

Nikola Schmidt

Article in peer-review


Space exploration has been source of visions to positive future development of humanity as a spacefaring species as well as to possible warring domain of humanity as a nation-faring species. In this way, the post WWII age was characteristic in thinking that technology can be the cause of positive or dystopic futures, respectively. However, the development of political science since then has provided us a different perception on the relation between technology and politics. In this article, we show how Large Technical Systems can overcome the prison of two-level game dynamics and enable more inclusive cosmopolitan space governance. We argue that it is not political reality that is determined by technology, it can be the normative theory injected in decades-long LTSs that determine the available space for political steering. Space environment is specific given its inherently cosmopolitan space epistemic community that has power through its expertise to shape not only how the LTS of future would look like but also what normative basement they will have. The principal problem of hugely ambitious activities in space does not lie in lack of knowledge or lack in technical capabilities or lack of funding but in lack of our ability to enable cosmopolitan ideas in practice. The novel approach to space policy we provide in our article builds on the Welsh school of critical security studies, a theory that focuses on security as emancipation rather than security as an absence of identified threat, and principles of cosmopolitan theory to argue that security sensitive LTS are not necessarily a burden but rather the instrument to enable the discussed policy dynamics.