The Badlands of Modernity offers a wide ranging and original interpretation of modernity. Through an analysis of some of the most important social spaces of the eighteenth century, this book examines contemporary debates about modernity and postmodernity, the character of social order and the significance of marginal space in relation to issues of order, trangression and resistance. Drawing on Foucault's analysis of heterotopia, or spaces of alternate ordering, Kevin Hetherington argues that modernity originates through an interplay between ideas of utopia and heterotopia. The Palais Royal during the French Revolution, the masonic lodge and the early factories of the Industrial Revolution are all analysed as heterotopia, in which modern social ordering is developed. Rather than seeing modernity as being defined by social order, the book argues that we need to take account of the processes that produce social ordering, their ambiguity and the spaces in which they emerge, if we are to understand the character of modern societies.
Kevin Hetherington is Lecturer in Sociology at Keele University