A post-Bourdieusian sociology of valuation and evaluation for the field of cultural production

Authored by: Stefan Beljean , Phillipa Chong , Michèle Lamont

Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Art and Culture

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  September  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415855112
eBook ISBN: 9780203740248
Adobe ISBN: 9781135008895


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In recent years, social scientists have seen an upsurge of interest in the sociology of valuation and evaluation (SVE). In Europe, leading sociologists have increasingly focused their attention on the topic. For instance, shortly after having been elected at the Collège de France in 2013, the sociologist Pierre-Michel Menger gave his first year of seminars on ‘Evaluation in the sciences, the arts and organizations’, while a very different type of sociologist, Luc Boltanski, has turned his attention to organizational forms used to present and classify cultural objects. 3 At the same time, American sociologists focus on the study of central cultural processes tied up in evaluation such as quantification (Espeland and Stevens 2008), commensuration (Espeland and Stevens 1998), standardization (Epstein 2007; Timmermans and Epstein 2010), or classification (Fourcade and Healy 2013). Sociological subfields such as cultural sociology and economic sociology, where evaluation figures prominently, are bustling with activity and energy and have experienced considerable growth over the past decades. Collective volumes on evaluation are multiplying (e.g. Beckert and Musselin 2013; Berthoin Antal, Hutter and Stark 2015) while sessions on the sociology of evaluation attract large and enthusiastic crowds at European and American professional sociological meetings alike. 4 And a newly launched international journal concerned with (e)valuation, Valuation Studies (http://valuationstudies.liu.se), has generated considerable interest across research communities. Such synchronized movements suggest that clearly, something is in the air.

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