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4.4 Affordances for Situating the Embodied Mind in Sociocultural Practice

Ivar R. Kolvoort & Erik Rietveld

Keywords: Skilled Intentionality Framework, Sociomaterial environment, Form of life, Landscape of affordances, Embodied cognition, Affordances.


The Skilled Intentionality Framework (SIF) is a philosophical approach that combines insights from both ecological psychology and enaction to understand the embodied and situated mind. By construing affordances as relations between the sociomaterial environment and abilities available in an ecological niche, SIF radically extends the scope of affordance theory. We propose that it is possible to understand all skillful action in terms of engagement with affordances. Moreover, conceiving of affordances in this way allows for an analysis of affordances on multiple scales (e.g., their invitational character for a particular individual as well as the affordances available in a given sociocultural practice) while simultaneously bridging these levels with the SIF to provide an integrated account of the embodied and situated human mind. Our aim in this essay is to showcase these strengths of SIF. In particular, we will discuss the landscape of affordances as our ecological niche, the experience of an individual in a niche structured by affordances, and the interrelation of the individual and niche in terms of engagement with affordances, and, lastly, we look at the dynamics within an individual.

Kolvoort, I. R., & Rietveld, E. (2022). Affordances for Situating the Embodied Mind in Sociocultural Practice. In Affordances in Everyday Life (pp. 13-22). Springer, Cham.