Distracted enchantment and public attitudes to space exploration

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter puts forward the notion of distracted enchantment. Space exploration can be understood as an example of what the classical social theorist Georg Simmel terms objective culture in that it opens up a body of knowledge so vast and expansive that it is deemed largely incomprehensible and inaccessible by most people. This notwithstanding, space programmes appeal to subjective culture in that they open up vistas of enchantment, connect with wider stories that form part of the extensive repertoire of popular culture, and, perhaps most significantly, provide a sense of meaning and future-oriented purpose even if the precise nature of the purpose is elusive.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBig Science in the 21st Century: Economic and Societal Impacts
EditorsPanagiotis Charitos, Theodore Arabatzis, Harry Cliff, Günther Dissertori, Juliette Forneris, Jason Li-Ying
PublisherIOP Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780750336314
ISBN (Print)9780750336291
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


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