Article | Valuation Studies | Contingencies of Value: Devices and Conventions at a Design School Admission Test





Title:
Contingencies of Value: Devices and Conventions at a Design School Admission Test
Author:
Sara Malou Strandvad: Department of Communication, Business and Information, Technologies, Roskilde University, Denmark
DOI:
10.3384/vs.2001-5992.1422119
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
Abstract:
Based on a study of the admission test at a design school, this paper investigates the contingencies of aesthetic values as these become visible in assessment practices. Theoretically, the paper takes its starting point in Herrnstein Smith’s notion of ‘contingencies of values’ and outlines a pragmatist ground where cultural sociology and economic sociology meet. Informed by the literature on cultural intermediaries, the paper discusses the role of evaluators and the devices which accompany them. Whereas studies of cultural intermediaries traditionally apply a Bourdieusian perspective, recent developments within this field of literature draws inspiration from the so-called ‘new new economic sociology,’ which this paper adds to. While the admission test is easily described as a matter of overcoming “subjective” aesthetic evaluations by means of “objective” and standardized assessment criteria, the paper does not accept this storyline. As an alternative, the paper outlines the contingencies of values which are at play at the admission test, composed of official assessment criteria and scoring devices together with conventions within the world of design, and set in motion by interactions with the objects that applicants submit.
Keywords:
Aesthetic valuations; cultural intermediaries; post-Bourdieusian; pragmatism; admission test
Year:
2014
Volume:
2
Issue:
2
Pages:
119-151
No. of pages:
33
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2014-12-16

Volume 2, Issue: 2, Article 3, 2014

Author:
Sara Malou Strandvad
Title:
Contingencies of Value: Devices and Conventions at a Design School Admission Test:
DOI:
10.3384/vs.2001-5992.1422119
References:

Aspers, Patrik. 2001. Markets in Fashion: A Phenomenological Approach. London: Routledge.

Becker, Howard. 1982. Art Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Becker, Howard. 2008. Art Worlds: 25th Anniversary edition. Berkeley: University of California Press. 

Beckert, Jens, and Patrik Aspers. 2011. “Value in Markets.” In The Worth of Goods: Valuation & Pricing in the Economy, edited by Jens Beckert and Patrik Aspers, 3–40. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Bessy, Christian, and Pierre-Marie Chauvin. 2013. “The Power of Market Intermediaries: From Information to Valuation Processes.” Valuation Studies 1 (1): 83–117. DOI: 10.3384/vs.2001-5992.131183

Boltanski, Luc, and Laurent Thévenot. 2006. On Justification: The Economies of Worth. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Born, Georgina. 2010. “The Social and the Aesthetic: For a Post-Bourdieuian Theory of Cultural Production.” Cultural Sociology 4 (2): 171–208. DOI: 10.1177/1749975510368471

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. “The Field of Cultural Production, or: The Economic World Reversed.” In The Field of Cultural Production, 29–74. London: Polity Press.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1996. The Rules of Art, Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field. Cornwall: Stanford University Press.

Callon, Michel. 1986. “Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St Brieuc Bay.” In Power, Action, and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge? edited by John Law, 196–223. London: Routledge.

Callon, Michel, Cécile Méadel, and Vololona Rabeharisoa. 2002. “The Economy of Qualities.” Economy and Society 31 (2): 184–217. DOI: 10.1080/03085140220123126

Cochoy, Franck. 2008. “Calculation, Qualculation, Calqulation: Shopping Cart Arithmetic, Equipped Cognition and the Clustered Consumer.” Marketing Theory 8 (1): 15–44. DOI: 10.1177/1470593107086483

Cochoy, Franck. 2010. “Reconnecting Marketing to ‘Market-Things’: How Grocery Equipments Drove Modern Consumption.” In Reconnecting Marketing to Markets: Practice-Based Approaches, edited by Luis Araujo and Hans Kjellberg, 29–49. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199578061.003.0003

Crane, Diana. 1992. The Production of Culture: Media and the Urban Arts. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. DOI: 10.4135/9781483325699

Cronin, Anne. 2004. “Regimes of Mediation: Advertising Practitioners as Cultural Intermediaries?” Consumption, Markets and Culture 7 (4): 349–369. DOI: 10.1080/1025386042000316315

DeNora, Tia. 2000. Music in Everyday Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511489433

Desrosières, Alain. 1998. The Politics of Large Numbers: A History of Statistical Reasoning. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Didier, Emmanuel. 2007. “Do Statistics ‘Perform’ the Economy?” In Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics, edited by Donald MacKenzie, Fabian Muniesa, and Lucia Siu, 276–310. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 

Didier, Emmanuel. 2010. “Gabriel Tarde and Statistical Movement.” In The Social after Gabriel Tarde: Debates and Assessments, edited by Matei Candea, 163–176. London: Routledge.

DiMaggio, Paul, and Paul M. Hirsch. 1976. “Production Organisations in the Arts.” In The Production of Culture, edited by Richard A. Peterson, 73–90. Beverly Hills: Sage.

du Gay, Paul. 2004. “Devices and Dispositions: Promoting Consumption.” Consumption, Markets and Culture 7 (2): 99–105. DOI: 10.1080/1025386042000246179

Featherstone, Mike. 1991. Consumer Culture and Postmodernism. London: Sage.

Florida, Richard. 2002. The Rise of the Creative Class: And How Its Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life. New York: Basic Books.

Gill, Rosalind. 2002. “Cool, Creative and Egalitarian? Exploring Gender in Project-Based New Media Work in Europe.” Information, Communication & Society 5(1): 70–89. DOI: 10.1080/13691180110117668

Harland, Robert, and Phil Sawdon. 2011. “From Fail to First: Revising Assessment Criteria in Art and Design.” Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education 10 (1): 67–88. DOI: 10.1386/adch.10.1.67_1

Heinich, Nathalie. 2014. “Practices of Contemporary Art: A Pragmatic Approach to a New Artistic Paradigm.” In Artistic Practices: Social Interactions and Cultural Dynamics, edited by Tasos Zembyla, 32–43. London: Routledge.

Hennion, Antoine. 1997. “Baroque and Rock: Music, Mediators and Musical Taste.” Poetics 24: 415–435. DOI: 10.1016/S0304-422X(97)00005-3

Hennion, Antoine. 2001. “Music Lovers: Taste as Performance.” Theory, Culture & Society 18 (5): 1–22. DOI: 10.1177/02632760122051940

Hennion, Antoine. 2004. “Pragmatics of taste.” In The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Culture, edited by Marc D. Jacobs and Nancy Hanrahan, 131–144. Oxford UK/Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Hennion, Antoine, and Line Grenier. 2000. “Sociology of Art: New Stakes in a Post-Critical Time.” In International Handbook of Sociology, edited by Stella R. Quah and Arnaud Sales, 341–356. London: Sage. DOI: 10.4135/9781848608405.n16

Herrnstein Smith, Barbara. 1988. Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory. Harvard University Press: Cambridge/London.

Hutters, Michael. 2011. “Infinite Surprises: On the Stabilization of Value in the Creative Industries.” In The Worth of Goods: Valuation & Pricing in the Economy, edited by Jens Beckert and Patrik Aspers, 201–220. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Karpik, Lucien. 2010. Valuing the Unique: The Economics of Singularities. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Latour, Bruno. 2005. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lee, David. 2013. “Creative Networks and Social Capital.” In Cultural Work and Higher Education, edited by Daniel Ashton and Caitriona Noonan, 195–213. London: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: 10.1057/9781137013941.0017

Mackenzie, Donald. 2009. Material Markets: How Economic Agents Are Constructed. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.

Maguire, Jennifer Smith, and Julian Matthews. 2012. “Are We All Cultural Intermediaries Now? An Introduction to Cultural Intermediaries in Context.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 15 (5): 551–562. DOI: 10.1177/1367549412445762

McFall, Liz. 2009. “Devices and Desires: How Useful Is the ‘New’ New Economic Sociology for Understanding Market Attachment?” Sociology Compass 3 (2): 267–282. DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2009.00195.x

Mears, Ashley. 2011: Prizing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Michael, Mike. 2000. “Futures of the Present: From Performativity to Prehension.” In Contested Futures: A Sociology of Prospective Techno-Science, edited by Nik Brown, Brian Rappert, and Andrew Webster, 21–39. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Group.

Moor, Liz. 2012. “Beyond Cultural Intermediaries? A Sociotechnical Perspective on the Market for Social Interventions.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 15 (5): 563–580. DOI: 10.1177/1367549412445759

Muniesa, Fabian. 2007. “Market Technologies and the Pragmatics of Prices.” Economy and Society 36 (3): 377–395. DOI: 10.1080/03085140701428340

Muniesa, Fabian. 2012. “A Flank Movement in the Understanding of Valuation.” In Measure and Value, edited by Lisa Adkins and Celia Lury, 24–38. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Muniesa, Fabian. 2014. The Provoked Economy: Economic Reality and the Performative Turn. London: Routledge.

Muniesa, Fabian, Yuval Millo, and Michel Callon. 2007. “An Introduction to Market Devices.” In Market Devices, edited by Michel Callon, Yuval Millo, and Fabian Muniesa, 1–12. Oxford & Malden: Blackwell.

Negus, Keith. 2002a. “The Work of Cultural Intermediaries and the Enduring Distance Between Production and Consumption.” Cultural Studies 16 (4): 501–515. DOI: 10.1080/09502380210139089

Negus, Keith. 2002b. “Identities and Industries: The Cultural Formation of Aesthetic Economics.” In Cultural Economy: Cultural Analysis and Commercial life, edited by Paul du Gay and Michael Pryke, 115–131. London: Sage. DOI: 10.4135/9781446218440.n7

Nixon, Sean. 2003. Advertising Cultures: Gender, Commerce, Creativity. London: Sage. DOI: 10.4135/9781446218839

Nixon, Sean, and Paul du Gay. 2002. “Who Needs Cultural Intermediaries?” Cultural Studies 16 (4): 195–500. DOI: 10.1080/09502380210139070

Peterson, Richard A. 1994. “Cultural Studies Through the Production Perspective: Progress and Prospects.” In The Sociology of Culture: Emerging Theoretical Perspectives, edited by Diana Crane, 163–190. Cambridge: Blackwell.

Ruppert, Evelyn 2011. “Becoming Peoples: ‘Counting Heads in Northern Wilds.’” In Assembling Culture, edited by Tony Bennett and Chris Healy, 9–30. London: Routledge.

Ryan, John, and Richard A. Peterson. 1982. “The Product Image: The Fate of Creativity in Country Music Songwriting.” Annual Reviews of Communication Research 10: 11–32.

Stark, David. 2008. The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Zimdars, Anna, Alice Sullivan, and Anthony Heath. 2009. “Elite Higher Education Admissions in the Arts and Sciences: Is Cultural Capital the Key?” Sociology 43 (4): 648–666. DOI: 10.1177/0038038509105413

Volume 2, Issue: 2, Article 3, 2014

Author:
Sara Malou Strandvad
Title:
Contingencies of Value: Devices and Conventions at a Design School Admission Test:
DOI:
10.3384/vs.2001-5992.1422119
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
Citations:
  • Henrik Fürst (2016). Handling Rejection as Failure: Aspiring Writers Getting the Rejection Slip. Valuation Studies, 4(2): 153. DOI: 10.3384/VS.2001-5992.1642153
  • Emily Barman (2015). Of Principle and Principal: Value Plurality in the Market of Impact Investing. Valuation Studies, 3(1): 9. DOI: 10.3384/VS.2001-5592.15319
  • Export in BibTex, RIS or text