The Emerging Outer Space Order: Professional Orders, Heterarchy, Hypermodernity and Political Reason

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


Political order in outer space has so far been perceived as an extension of the terrestrial political order. In contrast, I argue that the political order emerging in outer space defines international relations on Earth. Therefore, with a refreshed understanding of the political dynamics of outer space, we will be better equipped to grasp the contemporary world order. Moreover, deeper knowledge about the kind of order that is emerging in outer space opens up possibilities to influence its evolving direction, should we find this desirable. Consequently, the overarching research question of this thesis is how can we understand the kind of order that is emerging in outer space and the impact that this order has on the broader world order? Exploring this question, I visit everyday working environments and key sites for outer space ordering where I conduct multi-sited ethnography and elite interviews (2017-2020).

This explorative inquiry shows that the kind of order emerging in outer space can best be conceptualized not as anarchical, nor as hierarchical but as heterarchical. I find that quantum-mind entangled professional orders are the principal units that define the outer space order’s evolving direction. Using space as a crucial and illustrative example of the world order, I argue that these professional orders constitute the depoliticized fabric of the world setting its direction. I find that the prominent and defining professional orders are the scientific, commercial and military orders, which trajectories extend well into the future. Moreover, I theorize that the emerging outer space order foreshadows a transition into hypermodernity as the constellations of satellites for fast-speed-Internet that are being launched in outer space are creating a gigantic ‘transmission belt’. In addition, this inquiry reveals an imminent cosmological shift, as the world is yet again extended. This time further and more permanently into outer space with consequences for our sense of responsibility for Earth. I conclude that the increasingly heterarchical world, the ‘emboosted transmission belt’ and prevailing visions of the extended world call for a different ‘way of being political’ – for reflective political reason at the individual level including reconsiderations of professional identities.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


  • Outer space, Order, Heterarchy, Hypermodernity, Political reason, Theorizing, Diorama
Translated title of the contributionDen framväxande rymdordningen: professionella ordningar, heterarki, hypermodernitet och politiskt förnuft
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • Magnus Jerneck, Supervisor
  • Edström, Håkan, Assistant supervisor, External person
Award date2021 May 20
Place of PublicationLund
  • Lund University
Print ISBNs978-91-7895-833-7
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7895-834-4
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2021-05-20 Time: 10:15 Place: Online, LU Zoom meeting: External reviewer(s) Name: Rhinard, Mark Title: Professor Affiliation: Stockholm University ---

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