Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 485–507

Participatory sense-making

An enactive approach to social cognition

DOI: 10.1007/s11097-007-9076-9

Cite this article as:
De Jaegher, H. & Di Paolo, E. Phenom Cogn Sci (2007) 6: 485. doi:10.1007/s11097-007-9076-9


As yet, there is no enactive account of social cognition. This paper extends the enactive concept of sense-making into the social domain. It takes as its departure point the process of interaction between individuals in a social encounter. It is a well-established finding that individuals can and generally do coordinate their movements and utterances in such situations. We argue that the interaction process can take on a form of autonomy. This allows us to reframe the problem of social cognition as that of how meaning is generated and transformed in the interplay between the unfolding interaction process and the individuals engaged in it. The notion of sense-making in this realm becomes participatory sense-making. The onus of social understanding thus moves away from strictly the individual only.


Social cognition Enaction Sense-making Interaction process Coordination Participatory sense-making Autonomy 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics, Centre for Research in Cognitive ScienceUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

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