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  Literally, \'a place of Otherness\'. Originally a medical term, the concept was introduced into the humanities and social sciences by the French philosopher Michel Foucault in a lecture delivered in 1967 that remained unpublished until after his death (Foucault, 1986). Foucault used it to identify sites — in linguistic or physical space — where the incongruous and incommensurable are brought together in tense, unsettling and often transgressive juxtapositions: in shorthand, then, a heterotopia is a space of hybridity. Several English-language writers have since toyed with the idea — including Genocchio (1995) and also Soja (1996) in his reflections on the radical possibilities opened up by third space — but the most creative empirical deployment of the concept to date is to be found in Hetherington (1997) who redescribes heterotopia as \'spaces of an alternate ordering\'. He insists that heterotopia do not exist \'in and for themselves\': that the constitution of specific sites as heterotopia depends upon their ambivalent relationship to other sites, and that it is through this relation — of difference and deferral — that alternate orderings are made both visible and concrete through \'spatial play\'. He also offers a series of historical case studies (of the Palais Royal, masonic lodges and factories) to illustrate his principal argument, namely that modernity should be considered

in terms of an ordering that never comes to rest but which vacillates between ideas of freedom and control. This means not only that the space of modernity is inherently open to resistance and difference, but that it is indeed constituted by it. It also means, however, that resistance and marginality cannot be seen as separate from, or opposed to, the process of ordering (p. 139).(DG) References Foucault, M. 1986: Of other spaces. Diacritics 16 (1): 22-7. Genocchio, B. 1995: Discourse, discontinuity, difference: the question of \'Other\' spaces. In S. Watson, and K. Gibson, eds, Postmodern cities. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 35-46. Hetherington, K. 1997: The badlands of modernity: heterotopia and social ordering. London and New York: Routledge. Soja, E. 1996: Thirdspace: journeys to Los Angeles and other real-and-imagined places. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Suggested Reading Hetherington (1997). Soja (1996), pp. 155-63 and ch. 7.



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