One of the outstanding chapters in the recently published collection ‘The Globalisation of Space: Foucault and Heterotopia’ is Diane Morgan’s exploration of Le Corbusier’s ‘floating asylum’ which was commissioned by the French Salvation Army. The essay questions aspects of Foucault’s historical analysis of the role of asylums and opens up possibilities and challenges of coupling heterotopia with utopian projects. Morgan’s research can also be found in an article for the journal Utopian Studies:
Morgan, D. (2014) ‘”The Floating Asylum”, The Armée du salut and Le Corbusier: A Modernist Heterotopian/Utopian Project’, Utopian Studies 25 (1) 87-124
This article examines the case of a neglected “heterotopian” space, Le Corbusier’s “floating asylum,” commissioned by the French Salvation Army. It uses archival material to explore the potentially far-reaching contribution “heterotopia” can make to a “utopian” project for social transformation, as well as indicating how “dystopian” aspects can infiltrate the same initiative. My analysis focuses on the different texts available in French on Foucault’s problematic ideas on “other spaces.” It also draws attention to a another occluded “debate,” one that did not take place as such, between Foucault and Gauchet and Swain as to what types of spaces asylums actually were and intended to be. It also reflects on the place of asylum today and how hospitality might be extended to those who are socially excluded.
19 March 2015