‘There are also, and probably in every culture, in every civilisation, real places, actual places, places that are designed into the very institution of society, which are sorts of actually realised utopia….’
Here I provide some thoughts on the similarities and differences between the two contested concepts of heterotopia and utopia. . In terms of utopia, I briefly outline broad Blochian approaches to the utopian qualities of cultural productions as developed by Levitas. I go on to discuss Lefebvre’s concept of ‘heterotopy’ and Jameson’s work on utopianism, also influenced by Bloch. Finally, using Harvey’s work on ‘dialectical utopianism’, I argue for a clear distinction between heterotopia and utopia. The former is not anti-utopian, but provides a sideways analysis of existing material spaces in order not to anticipate the future, but to reflect upon and disturb the present.
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