Paper short abstract:
Reflections on a "collective brain" at work
Paper long abstract:
This paper attempts to integrate theoretical reflections on the interconnectedness of the biological and the social with the empirical example of a group of co-workers in a small team. I will look at how the team-members acquired the skills necessary, and how they communicated and co-operated on tasks, so that, as one co-worker liked to say, they developed a "collective brain". Thus, growth, or otherwise, in mutual understanding will be at issue, as well as the "becoming" of knowledge and skills related to work and of the internal workings of the group. The material is taken from dissertation fieldwork in an NGO in Morocco. It will be reflected most notably in the light of recent work on "communities of practice", "theory of mind" as well as on the "roots of human sociality".
Beyond the biological and the social: anthropology as the study of human becomings