SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Craven, Matthew (2019) '‘Other Spaces’: Constructing the Legal Architecture of a Cold War Commons and the Scientific-Technical Imaginary of Outer Space.' European Journal of International Law, 30 (2). pp. 547-572.

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY 4.0).

Download (191kB) | Preview


In this article, I seek to develop the argument that the law of outer space, as it was to be developed during the 1960s and 1970s, configured outer space as a ‘commons’ in order to displace two prevailing ‘dystopic’ socio-technical imaginaries that were to be associated with the Cold War. One of these was that outer space might become a place of warfare – and, more specifically, a warfare of annihilatory proportions between the two main protagonists of the Cold War; the other, that it might be the object of ‘primitive accumulation’. Drawing upon the work of Herbert Marcuse, I argue that, whilst the nascent code of outer space visibly sought to repress both of these possibilities, it did so by bringing into play a particular ‘technological rationality’, in which each of these aversions were to reappear as sustaining configurations – as what might be called the rational irrationalities of a Cold War commons.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
ISSN: 09385428
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2019. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2018 16:03
Related URLs: https://academi ... 0/2/547/5536739 (Publisher URL)
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item