The value of cognitive science for ethnography is not obvious to many anthropologists, nor is the value of ethnography to many cognitive scientists. The panel will discuss how participant observation-based ethnography can benefit from cognitive science and how cognitive science can benefit from it.
This panel addresses the question of the integration between anthropology and cognitive science, by looking in particular at how best to integrate cognitive-psychological investigations with participant observation-based ethnography and vice-versa. Since the interest that anthropologists take in cognitive science is often sparked by puzzling questions they encounter during their fieldwork, and since the interest that cognitive scientists take in anthropology often comes from their reading of ethnographies, we suggest that there should be a place for a cognitive anthropology which is grounded in ethnographic practice and which, while engaging with the universalistic claims of cognitive science about the human mind, remains oriented to the goal of describing and understanding the lives of particular people in particular places. The aim of this panel is to resist cognitive anthropology's tendency to move further and further away from participant observation fieldwork and ethnography. We seek papers that can demonstrate that a strong engagement with cognitive science can enrich ethnographic research and/or that the practice and the findings of ethnography can enrich cognitive science.