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The term heterotopia was first used in a social– theoretical context by the French philosopher Michel Foucault. It refers in one sense to a place that is socially different from the (implicitly normal) spaces surrounding it. However, the difference presented by heterotopia is not essential to that place. Instead, heterotopia is foremost an ambiguous, variable, and dynamic site that incites (re-)consideration and (re-)negotiation of sociospatial norms. The concept has therefore been deployed by critical theorists, architects, and geographers to interrogate the ways in which social norms and differences are built into particular places. Most important, the concept of heterotopia has been interpreted creatively to theorize new forms of thinking and living differently grounded in ordinary everyday spaces (rather than in utopian plans).

The variable usage ...

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