Publication details [#54158]

Publication type
Article in book
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins


Cognitive sociology applies ethnographically informed analysis of everyday social interaction, including problem solving in organizational contexts, in order to examine the role of social interpretive processes in the production and reproduction of authority structures. It develops longstanding sociological concerns about the relation between social organization, collective activity, and mind. In this regard, a principal finding of cognitive sociological research is that cognition is inherently social and cultural – not merely in terms of people sharing the topics and results of their interactions, but in terms of the interpretive practices through which people constitute the topics and results of their interactions. Aaron V. Cicourel's approach (1973) to cognitive sociology emphasizes research methods and theory consistent with pragmatics and discourse analysis. Cognitive sociology emphasizes that social organization is constituted through the social processes of interpretation central to interaction, not merely by the results of interaction (e.g. plans, artifacts, or symbols). Such emphasis on examining the linguistic, nonverbal, and pragmatic components of the interactions that constitute social organization and their reflexive relationship with culture is a key difference between cognitive sociology and the sociology of knowledge.