Production of heterotopias as public spaces and paradox of political representation: A Lefebvrian approach

Over the recent decades, both the requirements for and the affordances of pub- lic spaces have been an unavoidable and growing discussion in the spatial sciences literature. This growing discussion and research have been articulated through the argument that public spaces have been eroding under the neoliberal conditions and the capitalist mode of production. However, from the insights of social sciences, as the physical setting to be included in socio-political life, public spaces appear exclusionary for some as a timeless fact. Although historical public spaces have been idealized and envied, they appear as ideal places for a privileged spectrum of the societies to learn how to rule and to teach the rest how to obey rather than to allow them to be included in the public sphere. Considering the meaning of to be public, this study claims that this is the paradox of public space, which becomes evident in contemporary rising social struggles for public spaces in the form of occupy movements. In this context, this study aims to anatomise the paradox of public space from also the insights of social sciences in the conditions of representative democracy. As the main contribution of this study, we introduce a re-interpretation of Lefebvre’s multi-triads and operationalize his concept of heterotopia to offer a deeper understanding in revealing the paradoxical production of public spaces. We conclude that the social production of a heterotopia is the manifestational realization of an ideal public space and the dissolution its paradox for only a temporary period of time.

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