Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Zembylas, M.
‘Pedagogy of discomfort’ and its ethical implications: the tensions of ethical violence in social justice education
(2015) Ethics and Education, 12 p. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/17449642.2015.1039274

Abstract
This essay considers the ethical implications of engaging in a pedagogy of discomfort, using as a point of departure Butler’s reflections on ethical violence and norms. The author shows how this attempt is full of tensions that cannot, if ever, be easily resolved. To address these tensions, the author first offers a brief overview of the notion of pedagogy of discomfort and discusses its relevance with Foucault’s idea of ‘ethic of discomfort’ and the promise of ‘safe classroom.’ Then, he focuses on Butler’s account of ethical violence and norms to show how the subject’s constitution and regulation are inextricably linked to violence in several ways. In the final part of the paper, the author turns more specifically to the ways in which a pedagogy of discomfort might entail ethical violence, suggesting how the turn to a nonviolent ethics might become possible or whether the ethical resonances of that challenge will always entail a degree of ambivalence. © 2015 Taylor & Francis

Author Keywords
ethical norms; ethical violence; Judith Butler; pedagogy of discomfort; social justice education

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