South Africa as postcolonial heterotopia: The racialized experience of place and space

Charles Villet

Abstract


This essay claims that heterotopia is characteristic of post-Apartheid South Africa, i.e. where heterotopia is usually the exception in society, it is the norm in South Africa. This claim reinterprets and expands Foucault’s concept: heterotopia here refers to the racialization of place and space, and hence to otherness and difference as primary. The ubiquity of heterotopia post-Apartheid is evident in the life-worlds of white suburbia and the black township. A case study is undertaken of white suburbia through a series of phenomenological descriptions of contemporary South Africa using heterotopia as a heuristic tool. This study demonstrates how Foucault’s notion of heterotopia is relevant but also too narrow when related to the postcolonial context. An expanded notion of the term as denoting a racialized experience of space and place is necessary for the purposes of coming to terms with the strangeness of post-Apartheid South Africa, where contradiction and otherness are the norm rather than the exception.


Keywords


Apartheid, Foucault, heterotopia, postcolonialism, South Africa, whiteness

Full Text:

PDF

References


• Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001)

• Angahrad E. Beckett, Paul Bagguley and Tom Campbell, “Foucault, social movements and heterotopic horizons: rupturing the order of things,”Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest 20 (2016)

• Anine Kriegler and Mark Shaw, A Citizen’s Guide to Crime Trends in South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town: Johnathan Ball Publishers, 2016)

• Antjie Krog, “…between the nose and the mouth. Perhaps more towards the eyes,” in Some Afrikaners revisited, by David Goldblatt (Roggebaai: Umuzi, 2007)

• Antony Altbeker, A Country at War with Itself: South Africa’s Crisis of Crime (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball Publishing, 2009).

• Charles Villet, “Donald Trump, white victimhood and the South African far-right,” The Conversation Africa, 23 February, 2017,https://theconversation.com/donald-trump-white-victimhood-and-the-south-african-far-right-73400.

• Charles Villet, “Loftus as Afrikaner heterotopia: The life world of rugbymentality,“ Image and Text, 19 (2012)

• Derek Hook and Michele Vrdoljak, “Gated communities, heterotopia and ‘rights’ of privilege: a ‘heterotopology’ of the South African security-park,” Geoforum 33 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0016-7185(01)00039-2

• Derek Hook, Foucault, Psychology and the Analytics of Power (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

• Donald Trump, “Inaugural address: Trump’s full speech,” accessed February 8, 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/20/politics/trump-inaugural-address/

• Edward W. Soja, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory (London: Verso, 1989)

• Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, translated by Charles Lam Markmann (London: Pluto Press, 2008 [1952])

• Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, translated by Constance Farrington (London: Penguin Books, 1967 [1961]),

• Glenn Albrecht, “Solastalgia,” Alternatives Journal 32, 4/5 (2006)

• Greg Nicolson, “Farm attacks: If only the issue were just black and white,”Daily Maverick, August 25, 2015,https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2015-08-25-farm-attacks-if-only-the-issue-were-just-black-and-white/#.WKQdm9J96Hs

• Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1991 [1974])

• John Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, Theory from the South: Or, How Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa (Boulder, Colorado and London: Paradigm, 2012).

• Kevin Hetherington, The Badlands of Modernity: Heterotopia and Social Ordering (New York: Routledge, 1997). https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203428870

• Lewis R. Gordon, Fanon and the Crisis of European Man: An Essay on Philosophy and the Human Sciences (New York: Routledge, 1995).

• Lloyd Phillips, “Farm murder figures – TAU SA,” Farmer’s Weekly, April 28, 2015, http://www.farmersweekly.co.za/agri-news/south-africa/farm-murder-figures-tau-sa/.

• Michel Foucault, “Different Spaces,” translated by Robert Hurley, inEssential Works of Michel Foucault 1954 – 1984, Volume 2: Aesthetics, Method and Epistemology, ed. James Faubion (London, Penguin: 1998 [1967])

• Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces,” translated by J. Miscowiec, Diacritics26.1 (1986 [1967])

• Michel Foucault, The Order of Things (London: Routledge, 1989 [1966])

• Nickolaus Bauer, “Red October: The Plight of Whites in the New South,”ENCA, October 10, 2013, http://www.enca.com/south-africa/red-october-plight-whites-new-south-africa.

• Noel Stott, “From the SADF to the SANDF: Safeguarding South Africa for a better life for all?,” Violence and Transition Series, Vol. 7, (Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, 2002),

• Pedro Tabensky, “The Oppressor’s Pathology,” Theoria, 57 (2010)

• Peter Johnson, “History of the Concept of Heterotopia” (revised),Heterotopia Studies (website), http://www.heterotopiastudies.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Brief-History-of-the-Concept-of-Heterotopia-word-dec-2016-pdf.pdf (2016)

• Peter Johnson, “Unravelling Foucault’s Different Spaces,” History of the Human Sciences 19.4 (2006)

• Peter S. Goodman, “End of Apartheid in South Africa? Not in Economic Terms”, New York Times, 24 October, 2017,https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/24/business/south-africa-economy-apartheid.html?smid=fb-share

• Richard Peet, Modern Geographical Thought (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1998)

• Robyn Marasco, The Highway of Despair: Critical Theory after Hegel(New York: Columbia University Press, 2015)

• Samantha Vice, “How Do I Live in This Strange Place?,” Journal of Social Philosophy 41.3 (2010)

• Sampie Terreblanche, A History of Inequality in South Africa, 1652 – 2002 (Scottsville: University of Natal Press, 2002)

• Savo Heleta, “White privilege and hypocrisy in South Africa”, Africa is a Country, 6 November, 2016, http://africasacountry.com/2017/11/white-privilege-and-hypocrisy-in-south-africa/.

• South Africa Survey 2016, edited by Frans Cronje and John Kane-Berman (Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations)

• Thomas L. Dumm, Michel Foucault and the Politics of Freedom (Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press, 2000)

• Tony Schirato, Geoff Danaher, and Jen Webb, Understanding Foucault, 2nd ed. (London: Allen and Unwin, 2012)




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22439/fs.v0i24.5523



Copyright (c) 2018 Charles Villet

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

visitors since Feb 2009. Hosted by CBS Library