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Science and the Manufacture of a Political Order

A Sociological Study of the European Manned Space Programme
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter aims to question the function of science in the sustainment of a UE political power, based on mixed sociological methods. The European contribution to the International Space Station provides some relevant answers. First, I will introduce international collaboration patterns structuring the organization of science aboard the European research facility (“Columbus”), so as to define the context in which the European contribution took place, and the evolution of its space programme, which followed an increasing organizational standardization of space activities. The second section will focus precisely on the consequent organizational requisites for a political stability on the international space stage, highly dependent to the bureaucratic management of spaceflights, which also leads to a form of authoritarian governance of scientific processes. This central place of science in the conditions for political stability supposed that it constitutes axiological foundations for a legitimized occupation of outer space, without any call for strategic and military logics. The last section will then highlight the scientific roots of political mechanisms like nationalism from a critical sociological outlook, where science and its cultural authority facilitate the political integration and rhythm of power relationships in international affairs. In fine, our concern will be to measure how heuristic it would be to make scientific activity a part of the relationships of production which, in every Marxist theory of the State, structures the latter, preventing its reduction to a reified monolith.

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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de Bordeaux, Centre Émile DurkheimBordeauxFrance

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