Valuation Constellations

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Frank MEIER, University of Bremen, Germany
Thorsten PEETZ, University of Bremen, Germany
Désirée WAIBEL, University of Bremen, Germany
In our presentation, we want to put forth a new analytical perspective for the emergent research field of valuation studies. Loyal to their theoretical foundations in pragmatist social theory (Boltanski & Thévenot, 2006; Dewey, 1916, 1939), current valuation studies focus mainly on valuation practices in situations (Berthoin Antal, Hutter, & Stark, 2015). While this perspective offers rich descriptions of practices of valuation in diverse fields such as the arts (Merriman, 2015; Wohl, 2015), finance (Beunza & Stark, 2004), science (Dussauge, Helgesson, & Lee, 2015; Hirschauer, 2015), or education (Kalthoff, 2013), it ignores important trans-situational aspects of valuation processes. In reference to current valuation research, we argue that while the topic of trans-situationality has recently caught researchers’ attention on a substantive level, conceptual and theoretical work is widely missing.

In order to fill this gap, we then introduce the concept of valuation constellations. The concept highlights the potential of trans-situational forces in valuation processes in three different respects: Positions – valuee, valuator, and audience – whose relations span across situational contexts, trans-situationally valid rules, and technological infrastructures (Meier et al., 2016). The analytical potential of the concept is then illustrated in the context of three ongoing research projects out of rather different social spheres: (1) The process of canonization within the Roman Catholic Church; (2) processes of intimate valuation via real time dating applications; and (3) amateur literary criticism on Amazon.com. By presenting a variety of ways how trans-situational forces shape valuation processes, we aim at a discussion of trans-situationality in valuation studies on the conceptual level.