Pan Narez-Mendez

Examining Hegemonic Visions of Futures in Outer Space: A Discourse Analysis of NewSpace

NewSpace refers to the commercialization and privatization of outer space exploration, a recent phenomenon with most U.S. companies being founded in the early 2000s. Drawing from Gramsci’s and Hall’s theories of hegemony, my project examines how current iterations of space-based utopias maintain their hegemonic status by employing tropes of national memory and myth. More broadly, my research studies how outer space—the extreme—is transformed into place and how visions of futures in outer space created by an elite class are made intelligible in ways that often conflict with Afrofuturist and Indigenous scholarship. The paucity of literature examining NewSpace using humanities-based approaches is concerning. As Hall asserts in Media and Representation, representation is constitutive of the event, not outside or after the event. My research contributes to the study of NewSpace by offering a discourse analysis of media representations that is guided by counter-hegemonic perspectives on space, place, and power.