Heterochronias: reflections on the temporal exceptionality of revolts
(2021) European Review of History, 28 (4), pp. 531-548.
Drawing on Michel Foucault’s concept of Heterotopias, the article explores how we can understand revolts and revolutions as ‘heterochronian’ moments. Revolts turn spaces of ordinary everyday life, streets and squares, factories and universities, into ‘absolutely different’ spaces, at least for a moment. But these are also times that radically differ from normal times. Revolts, the article suggests, fall outside the normalcy of time. As an empirical example, this article explores the urban revolts of 1980–81 in cities such as Zurich, Amsterdam, and, most famously, West Berlin, discussing how activists themselves interpreted their revolts as temporary disruptions for which the moment mattered, no matter the long-term outcomes.
radical left; squatting; temporality; urban revolts; West Berlin