What is an intuition?

Steve Vaisey’s 2009 American Journal of Sociology paper is, deservedly, one of the most (if not the most) influential pieces in contemporary work on culture and cognition in sociology. It is single-handedly responsible for the efflorescence of interest in the study of cognitive processes by sociologists in general, and more specifically …

Power and thinking dispositions

In a previous post, Gordon Brett made a compelling argument for moving sociological work on dual-process cognition forward. In a nutshell, Gordon encouraged sociologists to begin to study structural and situational variation in the extent to which people rely on one cognitive mode (e.g., intuition, System I) versus the other …

The Lexical Semantics of Agency (Part I)

The concept of agency has been central in sociological theory at least since Parsons’s (selective) systematization of the late-nineteenth European tradition of social theory around the problematic of “action” (Parsons, 1937). Yet, since the dissolution of the sociological functionalist synthesis in the mid-1970s, anglophone social theory has been characterized by …

From Dual-Process Theories to Cognitive-Process Taxonomies

Although having a history as old as the social and behavioral sciences (and for some, as old as philosophical reflections on the mind itself), dual-process models of cognition have been with us only for a bit over two decades, becoming established in cognitive and social psychology in the late 1990s …

Consciousness and Schema Transposition

In a recent paper published in American Sociological Review, Andrei Boutyline and Laura Soter bring much-needed conceptual clarification to the sociological appropriation of the notion of schemas while also providing valuable and welcome guidance on future uses of the concept for practical research purposes. The paper is a tour de force, and all of you should read it …

Beyond Cultural Clumps

Clumppity-Clump Traditional approaches to the study of culture begin with “cultural clumps” and theorize from there. Like the devil, these clumps have been given many names throughout history. For instance, the unqualified use of the term “culture,” from Tylor’s famous definition onward, is usually meant to refer to such a …

Sociology’s Motivation Problem (Part II)

In a previous post, we outlined the three critical mistakes sociologists make in theorizing about motivation. We referred to them as the mono-motivational, social-psychological, and list-making fallacies. In this post, we briefly summarize each fallacy. We follow with a more extended discussion on how recent interdisciplinary work in social, cognitive, …

A Finer Grained Taxonomy of Artifactual (Cultural) Kinds

In a previous post, I reviewed a taxonomy of cultural kinds proposed by Richard Heersmink. Under this classification, there are four families of artifacts: Embodied, perceptual, cognitive, and affective. Perceptual artifacts in their turn could be classified into three distinct “genera”: Corrective, enhancing, or substitutive, depending on the way they …

Sociology’s Motivation Problem (Part I)

Sociology has an action problem. Explaining social action rests at the core of sociological inquiry. However, at best, the typical explanatory mechanisms focus almost exclusively on two of Mead’s three aspects of the self: the generalized other and the me. Six decades after Dennis Wrong’s (1962, 1963) critique of mid-twentieth-century …

A Taxonomy of Artifactual (Cultural) Kinds

In previous posts, I made a broad distinction between the two “families” of cultural kinds. This distinction was based on the way they fundamentally interact with people. Some cultural kinds do their work because they can be learned or internalized by people. Other cultural kinds do their work not because …

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