How to Award a Prize

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How to Award a Prize

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Titel: How to Award a Prize
An Ethnography of a Juried Ceramic Art Exhibition in Japan
Forfatter: Moeran, Brian
Resume: This article discusses the social processes among members of a panel of jurors required to award a major prize to one of the submissions to a national ceramics exhibition in Japan. Uniquely based on participant observation-style fieldwork, the article details the voting procedures and (inconclusive) results, before analysing why one particular potter’s submission was selected for the Princess Chichibu Cup. It shows how social relations, rather than aesthetic taste, influenced the final choice, since jury members operated according to an informal pecking order that depended on pre-existing networks and reputations, themselves determined by seniority and age. The fact that judges did not overtly resort to aesthetic criteria when making their evaluations meant that they considered each submission in relation to other submissions, rather than on their own particular merits. They thus ended up comparing ‘incommensurate flaws’, rather than making a selection according to agreed ‘merit’. And yet ‘meritocratic principles’ seem to prevail in the longer term cumulative recognition of potters who are awarded prizes at such exhibitions.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8510
Dato: 2012-09-14
Note: Paper presented at The 7th Conference of the European Research Network Sociology of the Arts. 5-7 Sep. 2012. Vienna, Austria.

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