An exploration into the interpretive frameworks of assessors in an interior design moderation event

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

How do multiple perspectives enable or disturb the reaching of sound classifications? The question underlying the study arose out of the ostensibly conflicting paradigms that a multi-disciplinary assessor panel imputed to an interior design moderation event. The study seeks to understand how disciplinary specialisations shape their judgements. Given assessors' plausible susceptibility to their individual schemas, the study explores the manner by which a heterogeneous social milieu approximates sound assessment practices and identifies legitimate interior design productions. For the study, the multi-disciplines were explicated as an organised community of individually-embodied social practices upon which coherent discourse and the exercise of power were dependent. Bourdieu's social theory is drawn upon to make sense as to how the theoretical constructs of capital and habitus are located within particular disciplinary groups and, how they are reproduced as the recursive internalisations endemic to individual specialisations. Capital and habitus are used to position the individually specialised assessors within the field. The specialist positions are premised as sites of opposition where dispositions are coterminous with position taking and competition for legitimacy. In this way, the study interrogates whether the act of assessment may be a function of how assessors operationalise their social practices. The assessor values and their corresponding knowledge and attitudes were seen as constituting the means by which appraisals and classifications were being made and calibrated. This necessitated a qualitative analysis of the complex aggregations of values and behaviours, typical of the socially differentiated panel. Primary to the investigation was the need to penetrate the actual moderation debates to access the tacit habitus and pervasive power that lay embedded and thus obscured from scrutiny. These deliberations represent a symbolic, structuring system - produced and interpreted against a common social field. For this reason four moderation cruces, seen as illumining the assessors' habitus that their particular capital resources advocated, were identified as relevant samples. The analysis hones into what the assessors draw on in order to make sense of the productions, i.e. their primary informants, or as encapsulated by Shay, their interpretive frameworks.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 127-129).