- Copyright Page
- List of Contributors
- Cognitive Sociology and the Cultural Mind: debates, directions, and challenges
- Cognitive Sociology: between the personal and the universal mind
- Critical Theory and Cognitive Sociology
- Pierre Bourdieu as Cognitive Sociologist
- Embodied Cognition: sociology’s role in bridging mind, brain, and body
- The Old One-Two: preserving analytical dualism in cognitive sociology
- Can Carnal Sociology Bring Together Body and Soul?: or, who’s afraid of christian wolff?
- Cognitive Sociology and French Psychological Sociology
- Cognitive Science and Social Theory
- Dual-Process Models in Sociology
- Bridging the Vocabularies of Dual-Process Models of Culture and Cognition
- Metaphorical Creativity: the role of context
- Priming and Framing: dimensions of communication and cognition
- Cognitive Linguistics
- Class, Cognition, and Cultural Change in Social Class
- Cognitive Dichotomies, Learning Directions, and the Cognitive Architecture
- What Is Cultural Fit?: from cognition to behavior (and back)
- Productive Methods in the Study of Culture and Cognition
- An Assessment of Methods for Measuring Automatic Cognition
- Methods for Studying the Contextual Nature of Implicit Cognition
- Social Mindscapes and the Self: the case for social pattern analysis
- Charting the Emergence of the Cultural from the Cognitive with Agent-Based Modeling
- Sociology of Attention: fundamental reflections on a theoretical program
- Risk, Culture, and Cognition
- Cultural Blind Spots and Blind Fields: collective forms of unawareness
- The Sacred, Profane, Pure, Impure, and Social Energization of Culture
- Cognition and Social Meaning in Economic Sociology
- Scientific Analogies and Hierarchical Thinking: lessons from the hive?
- Getting a Foot in the Door: symbolism, door metaphors, and the cognitive sociology of access
- Foregrounding and Backgrounding: the logic and mechanics of semiotic subversion
- War Widows and Welfare Queens: the semiotics of deservingness in the US welfare system
- Perceiving and Enacting Authentic Identities
- Cognitive Migrations: a cultural and cognitive sociology of personal transformation
- The Experience of Time in Organizations
- Silence and Collective Memory
- Name Index
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter elaborates the concept of cultural blind spots, which are social patterns of inattention. Both sensory and cognitive forms of selective attention are foundational mechanisms of the social construction process. Despite this, and despite the presence of the unattended in social life as a consistent but often implicit theme in social theory, cultural blind spots have never previously been explicitly theorized. Nonetheless, there is a rich conceptual foundation for a social theory of blind spots in research establishing thinking and perceiving as sociocultural processes, as well as in studies of everyday life and the taken for granted. A synthesis of this theoretical background suggests two different cognitive processes that create blind spots—focusing and habituation—each with a slightly different structure of attention and relationship to power, normativity, and the unmarked. Despite these differences, both types of blind spots provide insight into social construction as a process of excluding information, and both suggest analytic strategies for revealing the previously inattended. Key strategies discussed include adopting mindsets conducive to deautomatization and defamiliarization and analytically creating attentional shifts through reversing, marking the unmarked, filter analysis, and multisensory research.
Asia Friedman is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Delaware. Dr. Friedman is a cultural sociologist with a primary research focus on the cognitive and sensory underpinnings of the social construction process. More specifically, each of her core projects is concerned with understanding how individuals make mental distinctions in contexts of ambiguity and complexity. She also examines how sensory perception works to support cultural distinctions as a mechanism to simplify and resolve competing meanings. Through this work, she aims to advance thinking on what it means to claim that something is “socially constructed,” particularly a material entity such as the human body. Although her approach is rooted in cultural and cognitive sociology and sensory studies, the questions about the social construction process that most interest her have applicability to a wide range of other substantive topics, allowing her to engage in debates in the sociology of gender, the sociology of the body, the sociology of race, medical sociology, and sociological theory. In each case, she uses an analysis of social patterns of thought and sensory perception to bring productive new questions to ongoing conversations in the field. Her first book, Blind to Sameness: Sexpectations and the Social Construction of Male and Female Bodies (2013), which won the 2016 Distinguished Book Award from the Sex and Gender Section of the American Sociological Association, draws on more than sixty interviews with two very different populations—blind people and transgender people—to answer questions about the relationships between gender, biology, and visual perception.
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