Accepted paper:

On the possibility of a cognitive ethnography

Authors:

Radu Gabriel Umbres (National School for Political and Administrative Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is a reflection upon the process of revising a "normal" ethnography through a cognitive lens. Could ethnography be amenable to mutual fertilisation with other approaches in cognitive sciences, while keeping in touch with the tradition of thick description of social life?

Paper long abstract:

This paper is a reflection upon the process of revising a "normal" ethnography through a cognitive lens. Could ethnography be amenable to mutual fertilisation with other approaches in cognitive sciences, while keeping in touch with the tradition of thick description of social life? I will describe how my ethnography of morality in social relations in a Romanian village has been the source of inspiration for both experimental methods and a case study for testing evolutionary theories of cooperation and kinship. A contrast (as well as a similarity) will be discussed in relation to Daniel Nettle's experimental ethnography of "Tyneside". The paper will end with a discussion of the limits and opportunities provided by ethnographers for cognitive approaches to culture and the transmission of cultural moral representations.

panel P084
Cognitive anthropology and cultural transmission; legacies and futures