Roots of Human Sociality : Culture, Cognition and Interaction book cover
1st Edition

Roots of Human Sociality
Culture, Cognition and Interaction

ISBN 9781845203948
Published September 1, 2006 by Routledge
544 Pages

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Book Description

This book marks an exciting convergence towards the idea that human culture and cognition are rooted in the character of human social interaction, which is unique in the animal kingdom. Roots of Human Sociality attempts for the first time to explore the underlying properties of social interaction viewed from across many disciplines, and examines their origins in infant development and in human evolution. Are interaction patterns in adulthood affected by cultural differences in childhood upbringing? Apes, unlike human infants of only 12 months, fail to understand pointing and the intention behind it. Nevertheless apes can imitate and analyze complex behavior - how do they do it? Deaf children brought up by speaking parents invent their own languages. How might adults deprived of a fully organized language communicate?This book makes the case that the study of these sorts of phenomenon holds the key to understanding the foundations of human social life. The conclusion: our unique brand of social interaction is at the root of what makes us human.

Table of Contents

* Introduction: Human Sociality as a New Interdisciplinary FieldN.J. Enfield and Stepehn C. Levinson* Part 1: Properties of Human Interaction* On the Human 'Interaction Engine'Stephen C. Levinson* Interaction: The Infrastructure for Social Institutions, the Natural Ecological Niche for Language, and the Arena in which Culture is EnactedEmanuel A. Schegloff* Human Sociality as Mutual Orientation in a Rich Interactive Environment: Multimodal Utterances and Pointing in AphasiaCharles Goodwin* Social Actions, Social CommitmentsHerbert H. Clark* Part 2: Psychological Foundations* Infant Pointing at 12 Months: Communicative Goals, Motives, and Social-Cognitive AbilitiesUlf Liszkowski* The Development Interdependence of Theory of Mind and LanguageJanet Wilde Astington* Constructing the Social Mind: Language and False-Belief UnderstandingJennie E. Pyers* Sylvia's Recipe: The Role of Imitation and Pedagogy in the Transmission of Cultural KnowledgeGyörgy Gergely and Gergely Csibra* Part 3: Culture and Sociality* The Thought that Counts: The Interactional Consequences of Variation in Cultural Theories of MeaningEve Danziger* Cultural Perspectives on Infant-Caregiver InteractionSuzanne Gaskins* Joint Commitment and Common Ground in a Ritual EventWilliam F. Hanks* Habits and Innovations: Designing Language for New, Technologically Mediated SocialityElizabeth Keating* Part 4: Cognition in Interaction* Meeting Other Minds through Gesture: How Children Use their Hands to Reinvent Language and Distribute CognitionSusan Goldin-Meadow* The Distributed Cognition Perspective on Human InteractionEdwin Hutchins* Social Consequences of Common Ground N.J. Enfield* Why a Deep Understanding of Cultural Evolution is Incompatible with Shallow PsychologyDan Sperber* Part 5: Evolutionary Perspectives* Culture and the Evolution of the Human Social Instincts R. Boyd and P. J. Richerson* Parsing Behavior: A Mundane Origin for an Extraordinary Ability?Richard W. Byrne* Why Don't Apes Point?Michael Tomasello

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Nicholas J. Enfield and Stephen C. Levinson are at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.


"The publication of this book is a sign of an important new development, which will recast anthropology. We have here a number of disciplines which, having previously shunned each other, are now genuinely working together in order to understand the specificity and the nature of human social life. - Maurice Bloch, London School of Economics This is a landmark volume, that refracts anthropological knowledge at entirely new angles that can change in fundamental ways how we think about what we do and what we know. - Jane Hill, The University of Arizona Social science at its best: comprehensive, compelling, and incisive. Together the chapters of 'Roots of Human Sociality' provide a superbly-crafted and exceptionally wide-ranging account of how thought and culture create, and in turn are sustained through human social interaction. - Lawrence A. Hirschfeld, New School for Social Research Readers of 'Roots of Human Sociality' are treated to a wide-ranging feat of ideas and empirical findings, and the quality of the individual chapters is very high ... the volume is an exciting - and, at over 500 pages, abundant - peek at an emerging area of research. Few volumes of paper become ""classic"", but I suspect that this one will. - Gesture"