Res Communis? A critical legal geography of outer space, Antarctica, and the deep seabed

Collis, Christy (2016) Res Communis? A critical legal geography of outer space, Antarctica, and the deep seabed. In Ormrod, James S. & Dickens, Peter (Eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Society, Culture and Outer Space. Palgrave Macmillan, UK, pp. 270-294.

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This chapter provides a critical legal geography of outer Space, charting the topography of the debates and struggles around its definition, management, and possession. As the emerging field of critical legal geography demonstrates, law is not a neutral organiser of space, but is instead a powerful cultural technology of spatial production. Drawing on legal documents such as the Outer Space Treaty and the Moon Treaty, as well as on the analogous and precedent-setting legal geographies of Antarctica and the deep seabed, the chapter addresses key questions about the legal geography of outer Space, questions which are of growing importance as Space’s available satellite spaces in the geostationary orbit diminish, Space weapons and mining become increasingly viable, Space colonisation and tourism emerge, and questions about Space’s legal status grow in intensity. Who owns outer Space? Who, and whose rules, govern what may or may not (literally) take place there? Is the geostationary orbit the sovereign property of the equatorial states it supertends, as these states argued in the 1970s? Or is it a part of the res communis, or common property of humanity, which currently legally characterises outer Space? Does Space belong to no one, or to everyone? As challenges to the existing legal spatiality of outer Space emerge from spacefaring states, companies, and non-spacefaring states, it is particularly critical that the current spatiality of Space is understood and considered.

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ID Code: 94273
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Antarctica, legal geography, Outer Space treaty, Moon Treaty
ISBN: 9781137363510
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified (200299)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner:

Copyright Christy Collis 2016

Selection, Introduction, Conclusion and editorial matter, Copyright Peter Dickens and James S. Omrod 2016

Deposited On: 31 Mar 2016 06:49
Last Modified: 03 May 2016 03:16

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