‘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….’
In the essay below, 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 that heterotopia 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.
After you have read the essay, feel free to leave comments below.
Related links and resources
This Utopian Studies website is free to register.
Images of utopia/heterotopia: