From “The Cotton Wool” to Criticality: Unpacking FC Bergman’s The Sheep Song

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This article discusses the relationship between the critical potential of the arts and dominant notions of criticality. Traditionally, “critical thinking” is often equated with rationality and deliberation. Feminist thought has criticized both the traditional notion of the public sphere for its exclusion of groups based on their modes of discourse, and critical thinking for its overreliance on a limited model of criticality that excludes affectivity. Through an analysis of FC Bergman’s theater performance, The Sheep Song, we explore emergent structures of feeling that include such new critical affects. We draw inspiration from Maxine Greene’s work on how aesthetic sense-making can break through the “cotton wool” of taken-for-granted ways of thinking and seeing. Our analysis shows how specific moments of transition between scenes and representations of disability have the potential to foreground an audience’s sense- and meaning-making. However, the performance opens and then closes off the emergence of criticality, thereby showing the temporary nature of critical affects.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Arts
Early online date26 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Critical Arts.


  • Critical thinking
  • performance analysis
  • affect
  • critical disability studies


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