COERCION AND CRIMINALITY IN OUTER SPACE

 

 

·        Objective of the workshop: To get familiar with the research project, to learn about research design, and to become familiar with Space Law and Criminology issues relevant to the project.

 

·        The research project

 

 

 

COERCION AND CRIMINALITY IN OUTER SPACE

 

Long-term human endeavours in outer space play a significant role in the new space scenario that emerged with the end of the Cold War. The International Space Station–the first permanent civil settlement of human beings located in low-earth orbit at an altitude of approximately 386 kilometres- is the most ambitious and transcendental project of human settlements in outer space. Despite the fact that none of the reasons usually identified by the Criminology literature are present in space missions or their crewmembers, criminal and deviant conflicts are expected to occur in long-term human missions in outer space, as has been corroborated in recent multi-culturally diverse space experiences.

This project will contribute to advance criminological theory by examining how coercive experiences in long-term space human endeavours, such as the International Space Station, lead to deviant and criminal behaviour in outer space. The research results will shed light on how astronauts and other members react to experiences of personal and impersonal coercion and how this influences deviance and criminality in outer space. The results of this project will also contribute to the development of a more appropriate Criminal Law and Criminal Justice system for the International Space Station and other long-term human missions in outer space.

 

 

·        Space Law:

 

 

SPACE LAW

 

The outer space exploration era

 

The first phase of the space age, whose starting point was the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, is characterized by exploration activities carried out by the then superpowers in search for prestige and dominance on Earth. The space programs of the United States and the Soviet Union were based on the premise that the exploration of outer space represented a competition whose main reward was political prestige on Earth.

From a commercial standpoint, this philosophy implied that States acted under the parameters of a war economy, with generous budgets and without taking into account the financial aspects of their activities and the relationship between costs and benefits. Furthermore, under this conception both in the United States and the Soviet Union criticism to the space programs was viewed as country treason, instead as simple requests to rectify those activities toward objectives of more scientific value or to economic rationality. Thus, both US and Soviet space programs emphasized quantity over quality and practically every proposal of relative scientific merit was soon accepted. During this stage there were no endeavors of a commercial nature.

During this period Space Law centered around topics and issues of international law. Strongly influenced by the political context of the cold war, International Space Law -created through the search for the minimum consensus between the then world superpowers- concentrated mainly on the regulation of the exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes. Thus, military and humanitarian issues became the almost exclusive concerns of this field. The United Nations played an essential role in the development of Space Law during this first stage. In 1958 the UN General Assembly created the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), where International Space Law would be discussed and codified. During a period of thirteen years (1967-1979) COPUOS produced the five international space treaties and conventions existing today.

 

Commercial Innocence Age

 

This phase, which began in 1962 with the creation of COMSAT, followed by the launch of INTELSAT’s Early Bird -the first commercial purpose satellite- in 1964 is characterized by an almost naïf conception of commercial space activities.

Under the prevailing political philosophy, it was believed that the exploitation of outer space offered infinite commercial opportunities, which assured astronomical returns.

 

The main protagonists of this phase were the States and the international intergovernmental organizations. The participation of private sector companies was relegated to a secondary role. Private companies acted as State contractors and carried out almost exclusively Earth activities. It was the States that assumed the business risk of all commercial space endeavors. During this stage, the major intergovernmental telecommunications organizations, such as INTELSAT, INMARSAT and INTERSPUTNIK were created, as well as the European Space Agency.

 

          The economic analyses made during this phase predicted unlimited returns in the exploitation of outer space. The underlying idea was that space technology would evolve so as to permit an infinite use of space resources.  Under this political philosophy, once the technical problems were overcome, the exploitation of outer space would become free of any obstacles, which would give rise to unlimited economic opportunities to the benefit of all mankind.

This phase witnessed the rupture of the exclusive monopoly of the United States and the Soviet Union and the emergence of other national or regional space programs, such as the European one under the leadership of France, and the Chinese one, among others.

 

During this stage, the focus of Space Law shifted from international law to the institutional aspects of the main intergovernmental organizations and to the domestic law of the United States. During this stage, known as Organizational Space Law, specialized authors devoted mainly, among other aspects, to the analysis of the legal framework of intergovernmental institutions as well as to United States domestic law. During this period, United States domestic rules basically referred to authorizations to carry out space activities, liability issues and the use of space facilities, among other matters. The law of intergovernmental organizations dealt mainly with the rights and obligations of the members of the organizations and with the regulation of the relationship between the organization and other entities. During this stage neither the norms of international organizations nor the laws of the United States concentrated on the regulation of private entities.

 

Commercial Space Age

 

The Commercial Space Age began in the 1980’s and it is characterized by the search for economic profits through commercial space activities. The commercial space endeavors are no longer the exclusive prerogative of States and intergovernmental organizations. Private sector companies are now increasingly involved directly in commercial space activities. During this phase, the Cold War ended and the role of States in the space race changed radically. Private sector companies assumed a direct and more active role in the provision of goods and services directly to their customers. This process of maximization of profits from space resources introduced a policy of costs as a tool for decision taking in commercial space endeavors. This phase also witnessed the incorporation of many new countries, including some developing States, to the group of nations with space capabilities.

 

During this phase the works on Space Law focused on the regulation of commercial space endeavors from a business law perspective, stressing on the evolutionary, mixed and multidimensional aspects of commercial space activities. As a response to the increasing commercial exploitation of outer space by US and European private entities, several States enacted specific domestic legislation to regulate the new space business ventures. These developments have widely attracted the attention of authors and policy makers around the world, and the enactment of domestic space legislation aimed at regulating space activities of private entities constitutes the latest stage in the evolution of Space Law.

 

 

·        Criminology

 

CRIMINOLOGY

 

Criminology is devoted to the analysis of the causes of crime, crime patterns, and trends.

Criminologists use scientific methods to study the nature, extent cause and control of criminal behavior.

Criminology is the scientific approach to the study of criminal behavior as a social phenomenon. It is the body of general principles regarding the process of law, crime and control.

It is an interdisciplinary science. For most of the 20th century criminology’s primary orientation was sociological, today it is viewed as an integrated approach.

Criminology vs. criminal justice

Criminology explains the origin, extent and nature of crime in society, whereas criminal justice refers to the agencies of social control that handle criminal offenders. There is some overlapping.

What Criminologists do:

Criminologists are primarily interested in studying crime and criminal behavior.

 

·        Statistics: to measure the amount and trends of criminal activity.

·        Sociology of Law: the role that social forces play in shaping criminal law and the role of criminal law in shaping society.

·        Theory construction: why people engage in criminal acts.

·        Criminal behavior systems: research on specific criminal types and patterns, e.g., violent crime, theft crime, public order crime and organized crime.

·        Penology: the correction and control of known criminal offenders, which overlaps with criminal justice.

·        Victimology: victim behavior is often a key determinant of crime, a victim’s actions may precipitate or provide an opportunity for crime.

 

CRIMINOLOGY VIEWS: CRIME CAUSATION

Individual explanations:

  • Classical school and choice theories: individual choice about the risks involved and the potential benefits derived from the crime
  • Positivism: biological explanations: criminals and not the crimes are the objects of study. Criminals are born.
  • Psychological explanations: criminal acts are understood as psychopathologies, i.e., the individual’s unconscious leads to personality deviation, which in turn lead him or her to commit criminal acts.

Sociological explanations: the explanations lie outside the individual

 

Emphasis is on criminogenic social conditions. The immediate social environment is primarily responsible for criminality in our society, e.g., broken families, poor parenting, low quality educational experiences, delinquent peer relations, poverty, lack of equal economic opportunity, inadequate socialization to the values implicit in the American culture, etc. Crime control (emphasis is on the criminal not on the crime itself just as with biological and psychological views): correctional programs can give those arrested the social skills necessary to overcome those aspects of their immediate social environment that led to the criminal acts in their first place.

  • Social disorganization theories: Chicago School: Social forces operating in urban areas create criminal interactions: some neighborhoods maintain such a high level of poverty that critical social institutions, such as the school and the family break down. The resulting social disorganization reduces the ability of social institutions to control behavior and the outcome is a high crime rate. The role for criminal justice is straightforward: educate these culturally diverse groups to the dominant American culture, to the American way.

·         Social control: Travis Hirschi’s Social Bond theories. The emphasis is on why people do not commit crimes. Everyone has the potential to become a criminal but most people are controlled by their bond to society. Crime occurs when the forces that bind people to society are weakened or broken. When the social bonds that individuals have to parents, peers, and important social institutions like the school or the workplace are strong, they fear that their criminal activity may jeopardize their relative position in society and refuse to run the risk of losing meaningful social relationships, careers, etc.

·         Strain theory (Merton) crime is a function of the conflict between the goals people have and the means they can use to legally obtain them. While goals are the same for all the ability to obtain these goals is class dependant. Consequently, lower classes feel anger, frustration and resentment which is referred to as strain. These people can either accept their condition and live out their days as socially responsible but un-rewarded citizens, or they can choose an alternative means of achieving success, such as theft, violence or drug trafficking. Here the criminal must rehabilitate psychologically and accept those limited legitimate means available to him or her.

 

Conflict or critical criminology: political view of crime. It is capitalism that creates criminal behavior.

  • Ruling class uses the law & criminal justice system to advance their economic & social purposes. Criminal laws are viewed as the product of the upper classes. Crime is a political concept to protect the power & the position of the upper classes at the expense of the poor.
  • Capitalism is the root cause of criminal behavior. The human needs of the poor are ignored. It creates a fertile environment for crimes by corporations. The solution of crime is to create a more equitable society. They should not be armchair criminologists but activists engaged to foster social justice. Class, State and Crime centers on the proletariat’s struggle against oppression by the capitalist class. Capitalism increases the need to dominate by the capitalist class and the need to accommodate and resist by the exploited class. In an effort to secure their advantage, the capitalist class commits economic crimes, denies people basic human rights and uses the state to protect its interests and to repress the poor. For the working class, crime is best understood as a response to their harsh living conditions. Their illegalities range from unconscious reactions to exploitation, to conscious acts of survival within the capitalist system, to politically conscious acts of rebellion.

 

 

 

·        Research design

 

 

 

 

RESEARCH DESIGN

 

The arrangement of elements governing the functioning of a study.

 

5 components: (i) purpose; (ii) conceptual context; (iii) research questions; (iv) methods; and (v) validity.

 

PURPOSES

 

What are the ultimate goals of this study? What issues is it intended to illuminate, and what practices will it influence? Why do you want to conduct it, and why should we care about the results? Why is the study worth doing?

 

CONCEPTUAL CONTEXT (THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK)

 

What do you think is going on with the phenomena you plan to study? What theories, findings, and conceptual frameworks relating to these phenomena will guide or inform your study, and what literature, preliminary research, and personal experience will you draw on?

 

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

What, specifically, do you want to understand by doing this study? What do you not know about the phenomena you are studying that you want to learn? What questions will your research attempt to answer, and how are these questions related to one another?

METHODS

 

What will you actually do in conducting this study? What approaches and techniques will you use to collect and analyze your data, and how do these constitute an integrated strategy?

 

VALIDITY

How might you be wrong? What are the plausible alternative explanations and validity threats to the potential conclusions of your study, and how will you deal with these?

How do the data that you have, or that you could collect, support or challenge your ideas about what is going on? Why should we believe your results?

 

 

 

 

·        Future actions