SOC483 Culture and Cognition Syllabus

University of Toronto, Fall 2016


About This Course

What is Culture and Cognition? It is a relatively new and small area in Sociology. It is not simply the sum of its two parts, that is, some Culture and some Cognition. Rather, the area is defined by relatively specific conceptual interests and empirical approaches to the study of culture and cognition as phenomena that are observable in their association at a social level, and that are thus subject to systematic study. As an area of study, Culture and Cognition is associated to, but nonetheless distinct from, the Sociology of Culture. Scholars in Culture and Cognition are interested in studying how actors actively use culture through shared cognitive schemas that are embedded in larger social structures. They study the actions, practices, discourses or patterns through which actors put cognition at work. And they use methods to empirically identify how actors put their cognition at work rather than assume how they do it. BUT, what really is culture and cognition is a question that we will explore and debate as we learn about it throughout the year.