Outer space and internal nature: towards a sociology of the universe

James Ormrod, P.A. Dickens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article represents one step towards developing a sociology of humanity's relationship with the cosmos. It adapts a central question of sociological concern — how humanity transforms itself as it interacts with nature — to ask questions about how human subjectivities are affected by the increasing `humanization' of the universe and by developments in contemporary cosmology. The argument presented is that some (wealthy) sectors of society are increasingly relating to the universe in a narcissistic fashion, the roots of which can be found in the Renaissance `universal man'. At the same time, marginalized and less powerful people continue to experience the universe as a subject dominating their Earthly lives, a relationship heightened by the use of the universe in military and surveillance operations as well as abstract cosmologies. Problems with both these relationships with the universe are highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-626
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


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