Journal Article

'Comfort' & 'discomfort': A Brechtian intervention in teaching space & practice


This paper disrupts notions of ‘comfort’ as always being a desirable product when attending to spatial contexts and teaching practice. The paper draws on a long theatrical tradition stemming from the work of Bertolt Brecht which, among other things, seeks to stimulate critical thought not by making the audience comfortable but by creating a sense of ‘discomfort’ through alienation and other techniques. I bring this together with work on ‘critical pedagogy’, which attends to occasions when ‘discomfort’ provides a powerful teaching tool and with anthropological ideas that seek to draw more embodied engagements with ethnography into classroom and lecture contexts. The paper takes a reflexive approach to these interventions, evaluating not only the successes but also problems and challenges that the use of ‘discomfort’ raises.  The article engages with material on critical pedagogy and teaching practice.

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Chambers, Thomas

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-02-05

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

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