From cognitive dissonance to cognitive Polyphasia: A sociocultural approach to understanding meat-paradox
SourceJournal for the Theory of Social Behaviour
Google Scholar check
MetadataΕμφάνιση πλήρους εγγραφής
Cognitive Dissonance Theory seeks to understand inconsistency by situating it within individual cognition. By doing so, it overlooks the role of the social context in the experience and management of inconsistency and dissonance and fails to capture the processes through which it is negotiated when it appears. On the other side, the cognitive polyphasia hypothesis together with a dialogical approach on Social Representations provide a socioculturally situated, process-oriented understanding of inconsistency. In this paper, meat-paradox, the phenomenon of simultaneously declaring love and respect towards animals and also consuming animals, mainly studied through Cognitive Dissonance Theory, is used in order to highlight the merits of a sociocultural approach to inconsistency. Four relevant empirical examples from interviews and focus groups with meat-eaters and vegetarians in Cyprus are used to illustrate the approach. The examples illustrate how meat-eaters manage dissonance in ways that exhibit coexistence of contradictory representations and ways of thinking. Three different modalities of knowledge coexistence are identified, as proposed by cognitive polyphasia researchers: displacement, selective prevalence and hybridisation. We discuss the importance of a sociocultural approach to studying paradoxes, the epistemological and methodological implications of such a theorisation and we suggest other life contexts in which such an approach can be applied.