The paper examines linkages between individual cognition and emergent social processes. We consider theoretical and empirical work in cognitive psychology, and the ways individuals process information in a social context, and then progress to more macro-level cultural phenomena. Legitimacy of an argument is likely to be judged against the backdrop of semantic networks, but these networks arise in, and are modified in, a social context. Organization of information in semantic networks is partially a function of position in the stratification system. We examine ways in which political priorities on the material level do and do not parallel information prioritization rules on the individual level. Cultural similarities can be seen as similarities in ways of prioritizing information. Because of linkages between the organization of information and social organization, objective social and cultural changes occur concomitantly with subjective changes in cognitive networks, especially as they are mediated by prioritizing summary symbols.
Burns, T. and Lemoyne, T. (2002), "Epistemology, culture and rhetoric: some social implications of human cognition", Lehmann, J. (Ed.) Critical Theory: Diverse Objects, Diverse Subjects (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 71-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0278-1204(03)80006-3Download as .RIS
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