SOC483Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Situated Learning, Artificiality, Frame Analysis

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9 Nov 2012
SOC483Y1- Office Hours Thursday 1-3pm
Jean Lave
Introduction: Psychology and Anthropology I,” chapter 1, “Inside the Supermarket (Outdoors) and
from the Veranda,” chapter 5 in Cognition in Practice (Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 6-18,
97-123, 148-169.
- A new way of understanding cognition at the time she wrote
- 1988 book came out
- Book is influential
- Hutchin’s “Cognition in the Wild” – navigation
- Lave developed new perspective called “cognition in practice” or “situated learning
Situated Learning written much about learning
- Why cognition in practice- well her big argument was people studied cognition in labs but labs
do not have proper conditions to study cognition because so artificial
- Mental processes we make and invested we are in the beginning and finishing those cognitive
processes has much to do for us and what is at stake
- But if our own lives we may have more involved practice
- She studied what was once studied in controlled laboratory experiment environment if
experiment would give up easily
- “Adult Math Project” done in California- people bad in math but when she followed them in
the grocery store or in other studies, when they had to do hard math operation, they were very
good so why is it people are bad at taking tests and bad in experiment but good in own life
- That is when the idea of cognition and practice came about that notion always associated with
work move cognition outside laboratory (for Lave)
- Lave has a whole theory about how to understand cognition and even culture which she may
not write much about but provides an understanding for culture and cognition
Rosch and D’andrade many of those readings were what Lave is criticizing they were cognition in a
lab especially Rosch’s – D’andrade had a lot to do with problem solving cognitive literature has to do
with problem solving in artificial conditions (lab conditions)
- All of our findings will be misleading if we do not study in everyday lives
- She argues people perform differently in both conditions this has to do with what is at stake for
these people how people perform differently between different operations they do to engage
what is the best value
- She also studied people doing Weight Watchers (had to count calories) similar to grocery store
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The Introduction
- Lave reviews some stuff we started talking about relate to Bourdieu
- We saw with Cerullo discussing habitus = “synthetic social theory” – practice theory which
Lave reviews
- She does a brief overview of how anthropology has studied thinking- and culture in general
talked about in the first class
- Lave is critical of this perspective- begins with the idea of “socialization” – as it relates to
- Study of culture and cognition via:
SOCIALIZATION- connect to Durkheim “collective consciousness” – Parsons too critique of
functionalism Lave says this is implicit in cognitive studies- may not talk about socialization, Durkheim,
functionalism the idea is somehow incorporated (those that are dominant in our culture)
Socialization fell apart then move to ritual
- Then studied as “RITUAL-- They were interested in rituals because they thought they were
the most powerful per formative actions, a reproduction of practice and beliefs through
rituals. That rituals are essential for construction of norms this was the terrain of
anthropologist Mary Douglas and Levy Strauss
- Geertz no intra-cultural differentiation it is ritual that reinforces ideas everyone time
we do a ritual we engage those ideas
Anthropologists then moved to more traditional they began to study everyday practices, what they do
on daily basis- enact those ideas through those practices
Lave and others say cognitive anthropology/psychology derives from this that the idea in so far
cognition follows culture- culture shapes the way we think, stable this is based on linguistic models
(stable and non-changing widely shared, stable not much intra-cultural diversity) same idea
transposed culture would not change so there would be a constant just as language is a constant.
Strauss- form + cognition (structure first then cognition) + Saussure too
Lave adds she is the first one we are reading to point to this that there is a problem in seeing culture as
constant in a given place but that non of the past studied theories attended to the role of “setting” the
setting is always irrelevant according to Durkheim/ Foucault/ Levi Strauss (for understanding culture and
cognition) and thus this is what Lave brings to the table!
Goffman is interested in social relationships, talks about setting, how we understand things but he is
more about how we perceive those situations in which we find our selves and not basic problem solving
and is more frame analysis, kinds of frames and ideas that organization a particular interaction
Goffman interested in face to face interaction what guides frames! while Lave is more interested in
specific individual
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