The Chinese Space Programme in the Public Conversation about Space

The Chinese Space Programme in the Public Conversation about Space

by Andrew Thomas


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This study is the product of a long view of space exploration and the conversations about space in China. It locates the multiple conversations about space exploration and utilisation as they are in the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC), within other conversations about space culture in the world. China is viewed by Western researchers though many lenses which are examined here critically. In previous studies, writers explain away China‘s space programme with the easy answers of a "Space Race" and a "China Threat", in which the space programme is seen as merely an example of global competition, or threat, but this thesis challenges those barriers to Western understanding of the Chinese public conversation of space culture. In this study, critical theory and an underlying epistemology within a post-Enlightenment cultural frame are applied to official, archival and ephemeral texts and images. The manner of the critical application is distinguished from derivate techniques operationalised as Open Source Intelligence. The concept of Place, and within that, Foucault’s linguistic concept of “Heterotopia”, is significant both in understanding the Chinese overseas space bases on Earth and the temporal and spatial dislocations experienced in space missions. In acknowledging the interpretative approach, an empirical study, a "Q-sort" has been carried out, which demonstrates that the key factor in the Chinese conversation is Science, within the context of modernisation, tempered by Chinese cultural affirmation and international co-operation. The thesis concludes by providing general principles in future work for successful research into the popular culture of space exploration.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612334769
Publication date: 07/08/2020
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.54(d)

About the Author

Andrew Thomas is an independent researcher and Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. This is his M Phil thesis. His MA thesis, Kul'tura Kosmosa: the Russian Popular Culture of Space Explorationis also available from Universal Publishers. He is a critic and book reviewer, a creative writer, a radio and electronics enthusiast and a very minor politician in the UK.

Table of Contents

1: Introduction: Space Policy with Chinese Characteristics 5

2: Viewing the Chinese Space programme through different

lenses 13

3: Epistemology and Methodology 24

4: A literature review of official and archival sources 44

5. The “Space Race” in China’s Hemisphere 66

6: The significance of Location, the sense of “Place” and the

derivation of Heterotopia 81

7: Space Advocacy in the Classroom 101

8: “New Space” and the Youth Cohort 130

9: “Chinese Characteristics” 138

10: The “Aerospace Spirit” and its Promulgation by Social

Practice 159

11: The Chinese Public Conversation examined empirically 189

12: Conclusion: Science, Civilization, Modernisation and

International Co-operation 217

References 220

Appendices 245

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