Global security and spatial revolution

Activity: Talk or presentationGuest lecturesResearch

Dierk Spreen - Oral presentation

    The presentation discusses the relations between either the concepts of spatial revolution and world society according to Carl Schmitt and Niklas Luhmann. The discussion stresses the connection between global security and orbital satellite systems. The thesis is that the orbit has to be addressed in Schmittian categories as a “new space” – even in regard to the fact that Schmitt himself refused to make such a claim because he linked his space concept to territorial and political relations on earth. However, orbital satellite systems are mainly targeted at earth. But less than 10 Percent of all orbital systems are directed at the stars. Especially military and surveillance systems play an important role in the new world order of “global security”, a term that means a political and normative regime of prevention against violence to secure the communication of world society. This military and political “colonization” of the orbit is truly a “third spatial revolution” because it is connected to a new political and spatial order. Schmitt who did not subscribe to the political and normative consequences of this order criticized its phenomena like the League of Nations or the treaty of Versailles. He even refused to see the political consequences of space travel and therefore entrapped himself in a discursive “fight” against space travel. In contrast in a more Luhmannian perspective these political consequences could be described. In Luhmann’s sociology territorial structures are losing their societal importance, too. But in contrary to Schmitt Luhmann opens a way of thinking a political world system and a global regime of security. In a combined view of both Schmitt's and Luhmann's theory interdependencies between the orbital colonization by automatic systems on the one hand and the development of a global security order on the other could be described. So in a way and because of its atopic structure the orbit could be viewed as the “space of world society”.


    International Conference »Embattled Heavens: The Militarization of Space in Science, Fiction, and Politics«


    FU Berlin, Germany

    Event: Conference