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Thread by @BenCKinney: "More awesomeness! Now, media analysis: “A Path to the Stars vs The Space Frontier: National Space Mythology in Soviet and American […]" #Socia18

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More #Socia18 awesomeness! Now, media analysis: “A Path to the Stars vs The Space Frontier: National Space Mythology in Soviet and American Newspapers," by Christina K. Roberts.
Different expressions of national mythology in the space discources in each of these countries, 1957-1969. As noted in the talk title: "A Path to the Stars" (soviet) vs "The Space Frontier" (USA).
The US imagery emphasizes ruggedness, places. The USSR images emphasize connection driven by human effort.
Not much historical work (yet/previously) about this comparison of mythologies, how they made their way into media/newspaper discourse, and social history of space technology: the role of public enthusiasm/participation.
How did regular people interact with space program? What did governments try to do with their outreach, and what did media do with them? Were there expressions of space mythology in 1960s Soviet/American media, and what was the mythology's function?
(Soviet side had one fewer layer, of course: news came from Government Media -> people, instead of US version of Government -> Media -> People)
Space mythology as an interpretive tool - a mechanism of cultural development that gives meaning to events around us, help us understand place in world. Like all myths, represents a shared historical past. Only has to be believable (not factual) to be socially/personally useful.
"Purpose" (effect?) of myths is to be psychologically persuasive. People internalize values, and the mythes create an accessible common identify for social and political organization.
Thesis: state-centered institutions leveraged newspapers to influence public support. 20cen space mythologies oriented national and personal identity, and helped citizens interpret the meaning of the space age in their lives.
Soviet press was full of governmentality. Responsible for instructing public life; purposive rather than reactive. Interplanetary travel a clear goal and people were told they could soon expect to be among the stars.
US press... shoot the slide went by so fast! From memory: press was skeptical about government statement. Thus, the press-based mythology was reactive. No clear goal beyond Reach The Frontier.
Q&A. The "space frontier" mythology is still common from non-government; justification for exploitation. Not in government policy documents, though. And, indeed, our real "frontier" history was full of violence & genocide.
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