Call for papers

13. Cognitive sociology

Coordinator(s): Tuukka Kaidesoja (University of Helsinki, Finland) and Mikko Hyyryläinen (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Cognitive sociology

Nearly all sociologists make assumptions about human thinking and information processing (i.e. human cognition) in their research practices whether or not they explicate these assumptions. Many basic cognitive processes ─ such as perceiving, decision making, classifying, remembering and concept formation ─ involve social and cultural aspects that have been increasingly researched in the cognitive sciences during recent decades. Against this background, it is not surprising that there has been a growing interest in human cognition within different research fields in sociology and other social sciences.

For instance, sociologists have researched the cognitive aspects of political conflicts, social movements, face-to-face interaction, collective memory, climate change denial, markets, social media, moral judgements, ethnicity, identity, ideology and religion. Some of these sociologists identify themselves as “cognitive social scientists”, aiming to deepen our understanding of the cognitive microfoundations of social phenomena by employing the concepts and methods of the cognitive sciences. Other sociologists regard themselves as “sociologists of culture and cognition” and aim to complement cognitive scientific research by means of applying sociological concepts and interpretive methods on the social and cultural aspects of cognitive processes.

This session focuses on theoretical and empirical research on the cognitive aspects of social life. Although most empirical work in cognitive sociology has focused on the cognitive dimensions of culture, this session is open to presentations that address the cognitive aspects of all kinds of social phenomena. The assumption is that sociologists’ contributions are needed in interdisciplinary research on human cognition. Since the nature and direction of cognitive sociology is still under debate, the session also welcomes presentations that address conceptual, methodological, ontological and institutional issues pertaining to cognitive sociology. The aim is to bring together sociologists who are interested in the relations between the social, cultural and cognitive.