Striving for Consensus: How Panels Evaluate Artistic Productions

Kamila Lewandowska & Zofia Smolarska (2020)

Qualitative Sociology 43, pp. 21-42. Open access.

Abstract. Researchers have studied how artistic judgments are made in group interactions, but much remains to be known about artistic evaluations in decision-making settings where agreements need to be reached. This paper analyzes panel evaluations of artistic productions, drawing on interviews with panelists from a Polish theater competition. The article focuses on two aspects of panel decision-making: (1) concepts of artistic value that members of expert panels apply when evaluating art productions; and (2) interpersonal rules of deliberation, that is, norms and patterns of behavior that allow panelists to attach legitimacy to the decision-making process and its outcomes. The authors find that panel evaluations are based on a combination of two different logics (content and context logic) and develop a matrix of values the conceptualizes artistic standards and their applications. Furthermore, the authors find that panelists follow three types of interpersonal rules for decision-making: substantive, procedural, and contextual.

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