Political Science and Government

The whole of relates one way or another to two subjects: criticism of contemporary European society and a description of the ideal state on the island of Utopia.


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Noble Utopias and golden dreams about the City of the Sun usually evoke nothing more than a reproach for their "utopian" nature, for their ideals that are too high for mankind at present.

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It is sometimes inferred that the concept of heterotopia sits at the opposite extreme to the panopticon in Foucault’s thinking. This would be a mistake. Heterotopias include prisons and asylums. As with all Foucault’s deliberations, there is no sense of binary thinking. The panopticon is used by Foucault as a utopian ideal, an abstract concept of total control and discipline that could be formulated across other institutions such as schools and factories and which had a particular utility at a certain point in the modern era. The panopticon does not exist. On the other hand heterotopias do exist, a spatial and temporal play that evolves through the history of different spaces. Power here is ambiguous and reversible.

Isaiah Berlin, “The Decline Of Utopian Ideas In The …
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An English translation was subsequently published in 1980 by Harper & Row.

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