A contemporary history of Silicon Valley as global heterotopia: Silicon Valley metaphors in the French news media


This paper explores the extraordinary symbolic resonance of Silicon Valley in global cultures. Through a case study examining a large electronic corpus of French newspaper articles (2014-2019), we demonstrate the extent to which the Californian tech hub’s reputation has been repurposed worldwide, probing in particular metaphorical uses of its name in descriptions of countless other places around the globe. Harnessing the explanatory power of Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, our analysis reveals how comparing a site to Silicon Valley carries a variety of discursive functions as a tool of political and commercial rhetoric with tangible advantages in a globalized setting. Uses of Silicon Valley to evoke a more prosperous future are, however, contested in the corpus, most visibly in interviews with political philosopher Eric Sadin. We argue that Silicon Valley as heterotopia thus reflects and reconfigures both our highest hopes and deepest fears amid the unsettling upheaval of the digital age.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14747731.2022.2034308
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Politics, History and International Relations
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Centre for Language Research at Aston (CLaRA)
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College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: © 2022, The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Silicon Valley,Metaphor,Heterotopia,France,news media,global cultures
Publication ISSN: 1474-774X
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2024 08:10
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2022 13:52
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Related URLs: https://www.tan ... 31.2022.2034308 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-02-17
Published Online Date: 2022-02-17
Accepted Date: 2021-12-31
Authors: Jones, Henry
Sudlow, Brian (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-9939-6986)



Version: Accepted Version

Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only


Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

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