Ethnographies of Outer Space

Unveiling the Hidden Social Worlds of Space Exploration

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As humanity’s gaze stretches beyond Earth, popular imaginations paint vivid pictures of interstellar travel, cosmic civilizations and extraterrestrial encounters. But have we considered the very concrete social worlds that make the musings about these celestial landscapes possible in the first place? This groundbreaking seminar, “Ethnographies of Outer Space: Unveiling the Hidden Social Worlds of Space Exploration,” ventures beyond the realms of rockets and telescopes into the rich territory of the social studies of outer space.

Gathering renowned academics and early career scholars engaged in ethnographic research on outer space, this interdisciplinary forum will delve into the complex social structures emerging in our cosmic backyard. Through our ethnographic encounters, we will explore the social fabric woven within extraterrestrial and earthly landscapes. Since outer space is a realm of enormous contrasts, people’s engagement with it is also characterised by multiple challenges and paradoxes that prompt us to revisit some of the main assumptions of social theory and history. By peering into the hidden social worlds of space exploration, we embark on a task of answering anew the age-old questions about the definitions of the human and society, pushing the boundaries of knowledge and unveiling the hidden stories that reach beyond Earth’s horizon.

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