Abstract Cognitive cultural sociology has exhibited a preference for the neuro-scientific wing of cognitive science that generally sees cognition as a process occurring in individual minds. This preference has contributed to the individualistic cast of cognitive cultural sociology. Other theoretical frameworks can help cognitive cultural sociology out of this pickle. The paper identifies the distributed cognition approach as a valuable theoretical framework capable of integrating many of the individual/neurological insights of cognitive cultural sociology with the more macro perspectives adopted by most cultural sociologists. The article describes the distributed cognition approach, emphasizing its affinity for some of the theoretical and analytical models already in use by a wide range of cultural sociologists. Features that it offers include a de-emphasis on the inside/outside boundary of the individual person as marking the limit of cognition, attention to heterogeneous networks of information and meaning propagation, and a strong role for culture not just in providing content for cognition but in actually shaping the distributed cognition process. The concept of distributed cognition has the potential to enhance, but not replace, the concept of culture by suggesting fruitful new avenues for exploring the pathways of information and meaning propagation that constitute cognition in its distributed form.
American Journal of Cultural Sociology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 1, 2020