Tecnologia espacial, risco e política: o caso INPE
Gonçalves, Murilo Aparecido
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This work produces a sociological investigation about the political disputes involving INPE (National Institute for Space Research) and President Jair Messias Bolsonaro. Applying concepts of “risk” and “risk society” by Ulrich Beck, the study established a relationship from a sociological perspective with a focus on the environmental issue, as well as on the potential of new resources linked to space and computer sciences, especially satellites and databases. With these technological resources, a complex data mining system is articulated, where data is collected and converted into valuable information. Thus, having these systems means keeping under control, for example, images of the Earth's surface of various technological qualities and forms of use. It is institutes linked to States or even private companies that most have them; it is worth emphasizing, therefore, that there is a certain exclusivity of access. In the Brazilian case, INPE is the one who concentrates all the elements presented, whether its technical dimension or its political dimension. The path of institutionalization of Space Sciences in Brazil, especially linked to INPE, represents paradigmatic technological advances in this sector. However, the tradition of publishing its databases openly on its website generated, in the current government, a strong reaction, for highlighting the environmental crisis caused by deforestation. In view of the institute's experience consolidating itself in the midst of the military dictatorship, recent events raise the alert of a past that has come back to haunt. Therefore, the theme of risk refers to ongoing processes involving the suffocation of scientific horizons when pushed to this imposing political arena, putting the autonomy of research institutes in check, as well as the interests of civil society. This allows us to see the political dimension of these technical artifacts, especially when specific interests seek to incorporate these databases into power projects. In view of a sociologically produced field, the aim is to contribute to an interdisciplinary debate that demonstrates the political dimension, in addition to the environmental dimension, of Ulrich Beck's notion of risk.
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