Biological Theory

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 111–120 | Cite as

Astrobiology’s Cosmopolitics and the Search for an Origin Myth for the Anthropocene

  • James W. Malazita
Thematic Issue Article: Astrobiology


This article analyzes astrobiology as a cosmopolitical project—the ways in which astrobiological “sensemaking” practices do philosophical, political, cultural, ontological, and ethical work as much as they do scientific work. More specifically, this article argues that astrobiology is engaged in the crafting of a new “origin myth” that makes sense of humanity’s place in the universe during our transition from the Holocene to the Anthropocene. In doing so, this article traces the ways in which astrobiology employs scientific methodologies and engages with popular culture in ways that do four kinds of major work commonly found in origin myths: telling the origin story, demarcating the boundaries between self and the other, giving normative guidance, and declaring a shared societal purpose.


Anthropocene Astrobiology Cosmopolitics Mythmaking Science and literature Science and technology studies 


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Copyright information

© Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science and Technology StudiesRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

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