Nick Enfield | Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction (2006)
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BOOKS

Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction

Publisher: Berg Publishers (2006), Oxford
N. J. Enfield

Synopsis

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.