Situated and distributed cognition in artifact negotiation and trade-specific skills: A cognitive ethnography of Kashmiri carpet weaving practice

Theory and Psychology 28 (4):451-475 (2018)
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This article describes various ways actors in Kashmiri carpet weaving practice deploy a range of artifacts, from symbolic, to material, to hybrid, in order to achieve diverse cognitive accomplishments in their particular task domains: information representation, inter and intra-domain communication, distribution of cognitive labor across people and time, coordination of team activities, and carrying of cultural heritage. In this repertoire, some artifacts position themselves as naïve tools in the actors’ environment to the point of being ignored; however, their usage-in-context unfolds their cognitive involvement in the tasks. These usages-in-context are shown through artifact analysis of their routine, improvised, and opportunistic uses, where cognitive artifacts like talim—the central artifact of this practice—are shown to play not only multifunctional roles beyond representation, but are also complemented by trade-specific skills bearing strong cognitive implications in a task.
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