Envisioning ‘Global Security’? The Earth Viewed from Space as a Motif in Security Discourses

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The Earth viewed from space functions as a recurrent motif, in different ways, within discourses on ‘global security’, and suggests the possibility of envisioning (in a literal, pictorial sense) security at a global scale as facilitated by the advent of space-based imaging and sensing technologies. This does not, however, necessarily mean that the possibilities for viewing the Earth from space lead directly to a unitary, corresponding, or monolithic view of global security. As is explored in the paper via three distinct case studies, views of the Earth from space are employed to underpin substantially different understandings of what global security might mean. In terms of the broader theme of this edited collection, each of the case studies suggests differing and even contending understandings of ‘globality’ even if they are all functionally dependent on and invoke the ‘infrastructural globalism’ (Edwards 2010: 23) of satellite systems and accompanying technologies of geosurveillance. The uses of the motif – in these case studies at least – suggest that rather than necessarily correlating to a unified vision of global security, images of the Earth from space are now part of ‘the conceptual resources necessary for both territorial demarcation and national identity construction’ (Bartelson 2010: 220 ; cf Walker 2010).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Globality since 1945
Subtitle of host publicationAssembling the Planet
EditorsRens van Munster, Casper Sylvest
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781138645622
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2016

Publication series

NameNew International Relations Series


  • Globality
  • Security
  • outer space
  • Earth imagery


Dive into the research topics of 'Envisioning ‘Global Security’? The Earth Viewed from Space as a Motif in Security Discourses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this