Getting beyond heterotopia


A lot of people value the article known in English as “Of Other spaces” which introduced the term heterotopia and have provided various commentaries on it. Perhaps the most naff was by Edward Soja in books such as Thirdspace.

One of the things we tried to do with “Foucault and Geography”(I prefer the subtitle) was get beyond heterotopia a bit. But there’s no denying that it attracts people, largely, I suspect because they can read whatever they like into its vague phrasing. (And wasn’t the “ship of fools” thing found to just be a literary device, not an actual one?)

More, with link to online text.

Updated: Another heterotopia post. Perhaps I’ll just throw them all in here!


4 Responses

  1. […] panopticon is often associated with Foucault in the same way as previous key terms heterotopia and […]

  2. In The History of Madness, Foucault explicitly refers to the “ship of fools” as a literary metaphor, which he uses nevertheless as a symbol of the way madness was perceived in Renaissance Europe.

  3. He didn’t intend the “ship of fools” to come across as an actual event.

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