Mark Johnson
PhD Student



  • PhD in Sociology (in progress), University of York
  • BA Hons Politics & Sociology (First Class), University of York

I came to York as an undergraduate in 2008 to study Politics & Sociology, graduating in Summer 2011. As of Autumn 2011, I'm working on a full-time PhD in Sociology, using Actor-Network Theory to study the UK Space Agency and the way it recruits diverse actors into space programs, and negotiates the difficulties of those programs. As well as academia, I have strong interests in computer programming (developing an increasingly-complex ASCII roguelike/4x game in my spare time), linguistics and literature, and I'm (nearly) a vegan.

Supervisor: Brian Loader



My research examines the UK Space Agency and how it recruits and manages actors in space programs. Space programs are traditionally regarded as long-term (10+ years), high-risk, high-cost and at the cutting edge of technology, and I wish to study how these issues and difficulties - which would seem to discourage investment - are managed. This is particularly by studying the "future"-based orientation of much of the work around space technology, in terms of "horizon-scanning", "roadmapping", etc, and the uses these are put to when trying to legitimize programs.


Selected publications

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

  • Open Source Satellites: A Democratized Technology? (under review)
  • I have also had two book reviews published in Information, Communication & Society (ICS).



I have taught on the first year "Cultivating a Sociological Imagination" module.

Mark Johnson

Contact details

Mark Johnson
PhD Student
Department of Sociology
University of York
North Yorkshire
YO10 5DD