Cognition in Practice: Mind, Mathematics and Culture in Everyday Life

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 29, 1988 - Mathematics - 214 pages
3 Reviews
Most previous research on human cognition has focused on problem-solving, and has confined its investigations to the laboratory. As a result, it has been difficult to account for complex mental processes and their place in culture and history. In this startling - indeed, disco in forting - study, Jean Lave moves the analysis of one particular form of cognitive activity, - arithmetic problem-solving - out of the laboratory into the domain of everyday life. In so doing, she shows how mathematics in the 'real world', like all thinking, is shaped by the dynamic encounter between the culturally endowed mind and its total context, a subtle interaction that shapes 1) Both tile human subject and the world within which it acts. The study is focused on mundane daily, activities, such as grocery shopping for 'best buys' in the supermarket, dieting, and so on. Innovative in its method, fascinating in its findings, the research is above all significant in its theoretical contributions. Have offers a cogent critique of conventional cognitive theory, turning for an alternative to recent social theory, and weaving a compelling synthesis from elements of culture theory, theories of practice, and Marxist discourse. The result is a new way of understanding human thought processes, a vision of cognition as the dialectic between persons-acting, and the settings in which their activity is constituted. The book will appeal to anthropologists, for its novel theory of the relation of cognition to culture and context; to cognitive scientists and educational theorists; and to the 'plain folks' who form its subject, and who will recognize themselves in it, a rare accomplishment in the modern social sciences.
  

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Review: Cognition in Practice: Mind, Mathematics and Culture in Everyday Life

User Review  - Jasim - Goodreads

good one Read full review

Review: Cognition in Practice: Mind, Mathematics and Culture in Everyday Life

User Review  - Christine Theberge Rafal - Goodreads

Take-aways I remember from this book. Most people do not use standard algorithms to do the math they need to do in their daily lives, and yet people rarely miscalculate in important areas (eg... determining which of similar items of disparate size is the better deal). Read full review

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Contents

Introduction psychology and anthropology
1
A dilemma of shared dilemmas
6
Cognition and synthetic social theory
13
THEORY IN PRACTICE
21
Missionaries and cannibals indoors
23
The everyday practice of cognitive research
27
The culture of transfer experiments
34
Context and motivation in the culture of transfer experiments
39
Conclusions
122
Out of tress of knowledge into fields for activity
124
The socially organized meaning of math
125
Measured change
127
Money management in practice
131
Dilemmas and resolutions
134
Money management practice in theory
139
Conclusions
141

Conclusions
43
Life after school
45
The Adult Math Project
47
From transfer of learning to situational specificity
55
Convergent findings
63
Conclusions
68
Adult Math Project arithmetic exercises
72
Psychology and anthropology II
76
the myth of scientific and everyday modes of thought
77
Dual divisions
83
A common epistemology
87
Conclusions
92
PRACTICE IN THEORY
95
Inside the supermarket outdoors and from the veranda
97
Structuring resources
98
divergent views
102
Two articulations of structuring resources
114
Validity and method
118
Through the supermarket
145
A primer for dialectical analysis
146
Arenas and settings
148
The supermarket as arena and setting
152
Arithmetic activity in grocery shopping
156
Dialectical arithmetic processes
158
Conclusions
168
Outdoors a social anthropology of cognition in practice
170
The cultural specificity of rational problem solving
172
Practice theory and constitutive order
177
The personacting
180
Direct experience
182
The sources and limits of continuity in activity
186
Conclusions
189
Notes
191
References
206
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