What is 4E-cognition?
In recent years a new way of looking at the notion of cognition has gained ground, often labelled as 4E-cognition (embodied, enacted, embedded, and extended cognition). The basic claim is that cognition cannot be reserved to individual processes inside the head (and body) only; rather cognition is seen as “a doing”; it is something people do in their active and explorative sense-making with the bio-social environment. Thus, an ecological turn is on its way within cognitive science that seeks to explore thought, feeling, and action as inter-related dimensions of an agent-environment system. ACCELL is now applying this new research paradigm to career development.
Metaphors of career and working life
The research reviewed literature by:
- Inkson (2004) who categorised nine metaphors of career in current literature: as inheritance, construction, a cycle, matching, a journey, encounters and relationships, roles, a resource, and a story and in later research explored boundaryless and protean careers;
- El Sawad (2005) who researched graduates experiences in blue chip organisations that revealed dominant metaphors contained within the careers literature such as a journey as well as other groups of metaphors not acknowledged within the literature including imprisonment, military, school-like surveillance, the Wild West, and nautical metaphors; and
- Morgan (2006) who proposed eight metaphorical images of organisations: a machine, an organism, a brain, a culture, a political system, as flux and transformation, as a psychic prison, and as an instrument of domination.
Similarities and differences in metaphor usage
- In my future, I’d like to take what I’ve learnt from anthropology and combine it with my law career [Stephen]
- Already I’m able to take a lot of what I know and put it back into the community [Katie]
- Du kan med denne utdanningen her ta mange forskjellige jobber [Daniel]
You can take many different jobs with this education
- Jeg har tatt bachelor i revisjonsfag [Niosha]
I have taken a bachelor’s in auditing
This research illustrates how an analysis of metaphoric language in culturally diverse narratives may reveal a conceptual bridge that helps scaffold communication to enhance awareness and build understanding between client and vocational practitioner. There are significant implications for using metaphor analysis in research and career development interventions.
This blog article is an extract from a paper presented by Susan Nacey and Allison Creed at the 6th specialised RaAM (the International Association of Researching and Applying Metaphor) seminar “Ecological Cognition and Metaphor” held at the University of Southern Denmark from 18 – 19 May, 2017.