Our future march on Mars – a walk on a well-known path

Detta är en Uppsats för yrkesexamina på avancerad nivå från Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen; Lunds universitet/Juridiska fakulteten

Sammanfattning: The Europeans were confronted with something new and unknown to them when they 'discovered' the Americas. Humanity today is at the verge of establishing a settlement on Mars and being confronted with something new and unknown. This raises the question of what can be learned from history. The working hypothesis of this thesis is that humanity is justifying its right to space with arguments similar to those used by the Europeans when they colonized the Americas. The method used in this thesis is composed of both a traditional method of interpreting international law but also a critical method inspired by the Critical Legal Studies movement (CLS) and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). The first part of the thesis examines the European arguments for justification of colonizing the Americas. By using a critical method, I come to the conclusion that the Europeans did not see the indigenous people as legal equals and that the Europeans adapted their arguments depending on the situation in order to benefit themselves. In the second part of the thesis, space law is examined through partly a traditional method of interpreting international law, but partly also with a critical method. The traditional method involves interpretation of major space law documents and scholarly literature related to it. With the critical method, I seek to reveal space law as a means of power for humanity and to what extent colonial thought replicates itself in space law. The third and last part of the thesis is composed of a comparison between the colonization of the Americas and space law. The comparison has been conducted through a close reading inspired by a critical method and shows that the law is fluid in the sense that similar arguments are used in space law and in the colonization process. It also shows that the law is dependent on the one in the position of power: similar arguments are used but by different actors and in a different time.

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