The conceptualization of nature in Tonga (Polynesia): cultural model theory and its methodological path
Author ORCID Identifier
Giovanni Bennardo: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4982-249X
Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science
One of the most noteworthy developments in cognitive anthropology, if not in anthropology, is the proposal to adopt cultural model theory in investigating culture. The theory conceives of culture as mental knowledge shared within a community. This constitutive knowledge is organized in a number of mental models that are called ‘cultural models.’ Here I demonstrate what adopting cultural model theory entails by describing part of my research about the Tongan cultural model of Nature as an example. Cultural model theory requires the implementation of a methodology that demands ethnographic, linguistic and cognitive data acquired by participant-observation, semi-structured interviews, and cognitive tasks. The ensuing cultural model consists of a list of propositions that emerge from the results of the qualitative and quantitative analyses conducted. The methodology guarantees a systematic process that supports the emic validity of the suggested content of the cultural model. In addition, while consensus analysis is typically used to discover cultural models, I show here that it has an additional role as a procedure to validate the discovered models. These two roles characterize two distinct moments of the study: the analysis of some cognitive data and the verification of the cultural model suggested.
CMT and methodology, Consensus analysis, Cultural model of nature, Cultural model theory (CMT), Polynesia, Tonga
Bennardo, Giovanni, "The conceptualization of nature in Tonga (Polynesia): cultural model theory and its methodological path" (2020). NIU Bibliography. 124.
Department of Anthropology