Sociocognitive Poetics: The social component of cognitive theory
Cognitive studies are at present abandoning the nearly exclusive primacy of the individual component in human cognition. This is now seen and analysed under due consideration of the intervening social elements; i.e., the individual human cognitive activity cannot be fully understood unless its components of social interaction are included: those social elements which participate in the individual’s cognition.
In this framework some social aspects of human cognition and cognitive activity have been discovered and defined: embodied, situated, distributed, synergic cognition. These forms of understanding human cognition and language go together with a new view of cognition as a kind of activity. The approaches included in this research can be described as ‘sociocognitive’ and are in a way the continuation of some historical approaches to cognition, such as Dewey’s, Vygotski’s or P. Bourdieu’s. Our core framework is the investigation of linguistic phenomena from the perspective just sketched.
This central theoretical approach is then applied to a number of different linguistic phenomena, as well as to the semiotic system of the representational arts, in order to ascertain their coincidences and differences. The unity of the interdisciplinary approaches is guaranteed by the common sociocognitive perspective, but the specific particularity of every subdiscipline –and its corresponding object of study- is respected: instead of trying to use the same methodology for the study of very different phenomena, a single, common theoretical approach is used while new methodologies are then devised for each concrete line of research. The common perspective is then that linguistic and, more generally, semiotic phenomena of all types are complex phenomena which have to be understood against the background of individual cognition with a social basis which is then carried out, as activity, in the general framework of social interaction.