Publication details [#4669]

Forceville, Charles. 2000. Review of 'Culture in Mind: Cognition, Culture, and the Problem of Meaning' by Bradd Shore. 1996. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, xvii + 428 pages, $55.00 (hardback), $24.95 (paperback). Metaphor and Symbol 15 (3) : 189–195.


It seems hardly coincidental that the anthropologist Bradd Shore chose a title for his book that is reminiscent of Johnson's 'The Body in the Mind' (1987). If we want to understand how humans experience and negotiate the world around them, it is not enough only to focus on the role of embodiment; it is no less important to analyze the cultural context within which people function. Studying the embodied mind, that is, must be complemented by investigating the "cultured" mind. Shore shows how anthropology, early in its development as an academic discipline, divorced culture and mind. He argues against this dichotomy and asserts that culture is what connects the individual's mind with the cognitive models of the society in which that individual lives, claiming that "attention to cultural cognition has the potential for mediating the general studies of brain function from neuroscience and the more particular studies of individual mental representations found in cognitive psychology" (p. 10). The enterprise is a daring one, as Shore points out (p. 380), because he straddles the two major research traditions: the humanistic, interpretive approach and the positivistic, experiment-oriented approach. (Charles Forceville)