Theorizing Social Ideations: Beyond the Divide between Humanities and Social Sciences

This article briefly reviews the historical changes in the social theories of collective cognition/knowledge, and reveals a classical divide between two major, supposedly rival, paradigms that still influence mainstream studies, i.e., (1) the realist determinist; and (2) the subjectivist constructionist. This division has prevailed in both humanities and social-behavioral sciences until recent challenges by critical realism and synthesizing trends. In fact, a growing number of meta-theoretical speculations have recently advocated a conciliatory orientation conceptualizing social reality in terms of an interaction between social agency and social structure. However, a genuinely integrative trend is required to incorporate the ideational aspects of social realities into its agenda as a third dimension by acknowledging an ‘autonomous ontological status’ for ideation in relation to human agency and social structures. Nevertheless, due to current global changes and the consequent emerging modes of consciousness, there is a need to reformulate our notions of knowledge and cognition under a new concept; what I refer to here as ‘social ideation’. ‘Social ideation’ sits within a multidimensional and comprehensive model in which the complexity of the concept and the autonomy of its ontological status are well recognized. Finally, the article outlines a new approach, titled ‘social ideation studies’ (SIS) which constitutes a meta-theoretical base for integrative and interdisciplinary studies.

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