Haunted dreams: Critical theory, technology and the militarization of space

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


Taking the development of the German V weapons as its starting point this chapter offers a view the issue of space militarization through the lenses of Critical Theory, drawing in particular on the work of Herbert Marcuse. To do so it proceeds, as does any good space rocket, in three stages. The first briefly reproduces the historical narrative of the development of the V weapons, focusing in particular over the controversies surrounding the V weapons’ designers – Werhner von Braun and his “Rocket Team” – and their subsequent influence on the development of the American space programme. The second stage examines the way these developments were interpreted and alluded to by prominent Critical Theorists associated with the Frankfurt School of social thgeory such Marcuse and Theodor Adorno. The third stage then goes on to sketch the potential application of the Marcusian perspective to contemporary American space policy, given the seeming predisposition of this policy perspective towards the military use of space. In conclusion, some brief thoughts are offered on what the potential strengths of this Marcusian perspective might be as the basis of a critical approach to the military use of space.
Translated title of the contributionHaunted dreams: Critical theory, technology and the militarization of space
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecuring Outer Space: International Relations Theory and the Politics of Space
EditorsM Sheehan, N Bormann
Pages91 - 107
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780415460569
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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