Interrupting Globalisation: Heterotopia in the Twenty-First Century
Confirmed contributors: Kevin Hetherington, author of Badlands of Modernity: Heterotopia and Social Ordering Lieven De Cauter, editor of Heterotopia and the City: Public Space in a Postcivil Society Editors: Simon Ferdinand, Irina Souch and Daan Wesselman (the University of Amsterdam) Keywords: heterotopia, globalisation, discourse, space, art, literature, film, popular culture
Can heterotopia help us make sense of globalisation? A heterotopia, in Michel Foucault’s initial formulations, describes the spatial articulation of a discursive order, manifesting its own distinct logics and categories in ways that refract or disturb prevailing paradigms. As part of the “reassertion of space” or “spatial turn” that has gathered pace in the humanities and social sciences from the 1980s onwards (Soja 1989; Warf and Arias 2009), the concept of heterotopia has enjoyed broad critical appeal across literary studies, visual culture and cultural geography (Dehaene and De Cauter 2008). Allowing critics to grasp how discourse and space fold together in the construction of enclosed or discrepant domains, the term has been applied to an enormous variety of real and imagined cultural spaces, ranging from Hashima Island to Melville’s Pequod, Ramadan festival to Kowloon Walled City. And yet, despite its popularity, the concept of heterotopia stands in tension with other critical approaches and spatial terms in cultural theory. If heterotopias are marked off by virtue of the discursive difference they embody, current concepts of world systems, planetarity and above all globalisation emphasise “the widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness” (Held, McGrew and Goldblatt 1999, 2). Twenty-first century globalisation is often characterised by a tumultuous undifferentiation of cultural spaces, in which formerly integral identities bleed into one another, diverse polities are commonly exposed to ecological risks, and sovereign territories fade amid shifting new configurations.
If globalising flows and planetary precarities might first seem to flatten heterotopian difference, they also constitute novel forms of heterotopia in that globalisation preconditions clashes among once distant discursive realms. This volume calls on scholars and critics across disciplines to explore the contrary dynamics through which heterotopian practices not only persist but proliferate amid twentieth-first century globalisation. What are the new forms assumed, and new spaces produced, by heterotopian imaginations today? How does heterotopian form interrupt or problematise dominant spaces, practices and policies, not least those of neoliberal globalisation and environmental governance? How have established heterotopias been reconfigured or remediated in the global present? What is at stake, for instance, in the transition from graveyard to mobile cryogenic storage units as a social mode of being-toward-death; from the fascist rally to the alt-right blog as the expression of political reaction? In the move from the elite boarding school to U.S. child migrant internment facilities as a passage to adulthood; from water-going vessels to interplanetary ships and stations as a means of traversing inhospitable spaces?
In addressing these and other questions pertaining to heterotopia and globalisation, contributors are invited to submit abstracts for chapters exploring heterotopian forms and expressions in film, literature, art, music, television and socio-political practice, relating to any genre, medium or geographical context. Possible topics might include (but are not limited to):
- applications of heterotopia to diverse new political, social, cultural and ecological realities;
- progressive and/or reactionary manifestations of heterotopia in global cultures;
- both representations of heterotopias and heterotopian social practices;
- either pre-eminently spatial or pre-eminently discursive heterotopian forms;
- digital manifestations of heterotopia;
- the presence of more-than-human agents in heterotopias;
- cosmopolitan, sub- or post-national forms of heterotopia.