The Margin of the Future

Peter Redfield

in Space in the Tropics

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780520219847
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923423 | DOI:
The Margin of the Future

Show Summary Details


This chapter gives a striking account of an affable French businessman, Georges, who, because of family connections, had been invited to indulge in his passion for space at the center of French technological pride, touring the site and watching a rocket rise. Georges was convinced that international space ventures offered the best possibilities for a peaceful future. Unlike many products of high technology, launch rockets are not items of mass production, but very singular objects. Each represents a substantial investment of materials and hours upon hours of labor, unified and dramatically tested. Even as rockets and satellites represent clear and limited objects, the vast alignments of technologies behind them are nominally acknowledged but effectively hidden. Within the representational field of space, Ariane oscillated between overlapping demands of European cooperation and French national interest. For the most part, French and European interests aligned, in keeping with strong French commitment to a united Europe. However, at points, the interests of Europe and France diverged, and one of the places they did so most concretely was with regard to the Guiana Space Center.

Keywords: French technological pride; European cooperation; French national interest; international space ventures; Guiana Space Center

Chapter.  14475 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.