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China, India in space and the orbit of international society: power, status, and order on the high frontier

Stroikos, Dimitrios (2016) China, India in space and the orbit of international society: power, status, and order on the high frontier. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis is about the space programmes of China and India, and space as international society. Drawing on key concepts of the English School theory, the argument of the thesis is twofold. First, employing international society as the central analytical idea, it suggests that it is possible to conceptualise space not merely as a system, but as an international space society with a distinct international social structure. This argument is developed by highlighting how the nature of space as a distinctive sectoral interstate society is manifested in the ways in which its primary institutions are differentiated from such institutions at the global level (war, sovereignty, law, diplomacy, balance of power, great power management, the market) in a historical and comparative context. This helps to highlight the constitutive impact of these institutions on China and India as emerging space powers. It also puts forward ‘techno-nationalism’ as a primary institution of international space society. Second, the thesis argues that the pursuit of China and India’s space programmes has been informed by a particular understanding of techno-nationalism in a postcolonial context, what I call ‘postcolonial techno-nationalism’, which is centred on the development of space technology as a normative indicator of the state’s power, status, and modernity. The enduring influence of postcolonial techno-nationalism reflects how technological advancement was seen to function as a sort of an informal ‘standard of civilisation’ during the expansion of the European society of states in the nineteenth century. Essentially, this thesis provides a useful range of innovative analytical tools to consider the relationship between technology and International Relations and how order is constructed, maintained, and contested in space. It also offers a new lens though which to consider the complex dynamics that shape China and India as rising space powers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Dimitrios Stroikos
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Hughes, Christopher R.

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