Michel Foucault - Heterotopias

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Symphonic Cities

Cabinet: Michel Foucault's Heterotopias

"First there are the utopias. Utopias are sites with no real place. They are sites that have a general relation of direct or inverted analogy with the real space of Society. They present society itself in a perfected form, or else society turned upside down, but in any case these utopias are fundamentally unreal spaces.


There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places - places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society - which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality. Because these places are absolutely different from all the sites that they reflect and speak about, I shall call them, by way of contrast to utopias, heterotopias."


Michel Foucault, 'Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias'.

For full text, see:


Foucault, Michel. 'Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias'/'Des espaces autres', Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité 5.1984. p. 46-49. Available at foucault.info.


Foucault, Michel. "The Order of Things, Preface." In An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. Vintage Books, 1994. Available at foucault.info.

In 1966, Pierre Dumayet interviewed Michel Foucault for the tv series 'Lectures pour tous' about his book Les mots et les choses (in English: The Order of Things). Foucault talks about the nature of our culture and knowledge from an ethnological perspective.



Lectures pour tous: Michel Foucault à propos du livre 'Les mots et les choses' 1966, television program, Office national de radiodiffusion télévision française, France, 15 June. Through ina.fr.

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