"Some people are born strange": a Brechtian theatre pedagogy as philosophical ethnography

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The article explores the role of a Brechtian theater pedagogy as “philosophical ethnography” in four investigative drama-based workshops, which took international students’ intercultural “strangeness” experiences as the starting point for aesthetic experimentation. It is argued that a Brechtian theater pedagogy allows for a productive rather than representational orientation in research, which is underpinned by a love for the aesthetic “re-entanglement” of (dis-embodied) language and ethical concerns about mimetic representational acts. To show how a Brechtian research pedagogy functioned as philosophical ethnography, the article maps the aesthetic transformation of participant Jamal’s verbatim account in the drama workshops—from (a) its emergence in a post-creative-writing discussion in workshop 2, to (b) its enactment as a body sculpture in workshop 3, and (c) to its translation into a rehearsal piece in workshop 4.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-239
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number3
Early online date19 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Brechtian theater pedagogy
  • philosophical ethnography
  • drama-based research
  • rhizomatic validity


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