Accepted paper:

Heterotopia as a tool for the analysis of space: theoritisizing ships in a Foucaultian way


Stergia Sarantopoulou (N.T.U.A.)

Paper short abstract:

Attempting to contribute to the discussion on the heterotopean character of ships, we propose a theoretical analysis of the foucaultian notion of heterotopia. We try to redefine the concept aiming to provide every possible description of ship's spatiality, a concrete Foucaultian theoretical toolbox.

Paper long abstract:

The idea of heterotopia, as an original philosophical neologism, was often misused or overused by such disciplines as architectural theory or geography, always filling in theoretical- methodological gaps: space as scientific object is rarely directly treated and thoroughly defined. By lecturing on the theme of heterotopia in front of students of architecture, M. Foucault is slightly removed from discursive studies inaugurating a new discussion: a discussion on space, as if space constituted a new, independent object of research. He is thus differentiated from his own point of departure -discourses- to appoint space as the core of potential researches. Instead of revealing the "énoncés" the researcher is now asked to trace spacialities: localized relationships, placeable networks of power, materialized social procedures or functions. Space is no longer a strategy that enforces discursive function but almost the opposite: space does not only represent,but produces reality. Located in the open hypotheses presented above, an analysis of the ship as a heterotopia, presupposes a description of its space as the generator of its subjects and their social environments. From the "Ship of fools" to Lecorbusier's floating asylum and the conterporary cruise ship, the heterotopic character of the floating vessel is verified by its capacity to shape and even produce its own inhabitants.

panel P23
Humanity at sea: hybridity and seafaring