Theoretical Contributions to a sociology of (e)valuation
Valuation and evaluation processes are currently a much discussed topic, in particular, in the sociology of science, in science and technology studies and in economic sociology. Phenomena such as university rankings or credit ratings are addressed in research on classification, categorization, commensuration, standardization, and quantification. However, beyond such discussions about ratings and rankings, the paper argues that valuation and evaluation processes should be furthermore understood as a substantial feature of the social. Valuation as the construction of classificatory systems through the attribution of value to objects, people and practices and evaluation as the enactment of such value-charged classificatory systems fundamentally contribute to the institutionalization of a commonly shared understanding of social reality. Focusing on conflicts about the attribution of value and the appropriateness of evaluation frameworks within everyday situations of decision-making might then help to address questions such as on institutional change.
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