ABSTRACT

This article examines the case of a neglected “heterotopian” space, Le Corbusier's “floating asylum,” commissioned by the French Salvation Army. It uses archival material to explore the potentially far-reaching contribution “heterotopia” can make to a “utopian” project for social transformation, as well as indicating how “dystopian” aspects can infiltrate the same initiative. My analysis focuses on the different texts available in French on Foucault's problematic ideas on “other spaces.” It also draws attention to a another occluded “debate,” one that did not take place as such, between Foucault and Gauchet and Swain as to what types of spaces asylums actually were and intended to be. It also reflects on the place of asylum today and how hospitality might be extended to those who are socially excluded.

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