Thinking with broken glass: making pedagogical spaces of enchantment in the city
– New EER Article Alert
Pages: 1-11 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1325448
In this paper, I explore thinking that happens in children’s meaningful engagement with the city. To open up my argument, I discuss two events during which children are caught up in intra -active play with things and spaces. I argue that this mode of being joyfully engaged with one’s surroundings is key to what Jane Bennett (2001) calls enchantment. This experience can be described as a sudden moment of wonder-at-the-world: it is an inspiring event, of being moved by something. It is a disruption that can open up new reflection. Because enchantment is highly affectual, it deepens one’s engagement with the world: it fosters dwelling with. By this, I refer to making a home for oneself in the world, with the world. I approach this engagement and thinking with an acknowledgement of the capacity of the material and non-human world to provoke effects in human bodies: things and spaces thus take part in meaningful everyday encounters that make dwelling with possible. This more-than-human understanding allows for alternative ways of conceptualizing learning. Clean-cut categorizations such as ‘learner’, ‘urban’, ‘nature’, and so on become problematic, and learning is re-conceptualized as an ongoing, non-linear and rhizomatic event in which knowing and being are always tied together. While playing, children are open to the unexpected: they are dwelling with the city and take part in creating new pedagogical spaces of enchantment.
Keywords: Dwelling, enchantment, learning, non-representational theory, play, urban space