In this article I argue that the critical potential of Bertolt Brecht's concept of Verfremdung is no longer reserved for artistic works alone, but facilitates a reflexive sociological insight into a hegemonic theatre-apparatus. The artist gains awareness of the institution not as an "empty shape" which can be filled with new (political) intentions, but as content itself. If Verfremdung can be understood as a specific form of aesthetic Selbst-Verfremdung or self-estrangement, the art apparatus's self-confrontation "from without" as it were, it is not at all that paradoxical that other supporting pillars for a reflexive dramaturgy are also to be found at quite a distance from the typical discourses and references of traditional aesthetics and theatre research. Foucault, by emphasizing dispositive as "[t]he said as much as the unsaid", points to forces connected to the apparatus–like architecture, images, procedures etc.–which are working behind, or outside, the discursive language, but still are highly influential and powerful. From here a critical thread becomes visible, reaching from Foucault and Agamben's"dispositif" back to Durkheim and Weber's views on how institutions create behaviour, but even more so, the young Brecht and his concept of critique are revitalized.


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pp. 20-27
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