Winning to Learn, Learning to Win: Evaluative Frames and Practices in Urban Debate

Asad, Asad L. and Monica C. Bell. 2014. "Winning to Learn, Learning to Win: Evaluative Frames and Practices in Urban Debate." Qualitative Sociology 37(1), 1-26.

Posted: 19 Feb 2014 Last revised: 11 Aug 2016

See all articles by Asad Asad

Asad Asad

Harvard University - Department of Sociology

Monica C. Bell

Yale University - Law School

Date Written: February 17, 2013

Abstract

Sociologists of (e)valuation have devoted considerable attention to understanding differences in evaluative practices across a number of fields. Yet, little is understood about how individuals learn about and navigate multivalent valid group styles within a single setting. As a social phenomenon, many accept how central processes of evaluation are to everyday life. Accordingly, scholars have attempted to link research on evaluation to processes of inequality. Nevertheless, the sociology of evaluation only has tenuous, often implicit connections to literature on inequality and disadvantage. This article addresses these two gaps. Drawing on over two-hundred hours of ethnographic fieldwork in an urban high school debate league, twenty-seven semi-structured interviews with league judges, and archival data, we illustrate how high school policy debate judges employ evaluative frames and link them to the implementation of evaluative practices in a disadvantaged setting. We show that the cultural meanings that emerge within the evaluation process - in this case, urban uplift and competition - stem from the conflicted context in which evaluation is occurring. We also make a first step toward applying the conceptual tools within the sociology of evaluation to a disadvantaged setting, and more broadly, suggest that micro-processes of evaluation are important to the study of urban inequality.

Keywords: evaluation, education, inequality, urban sociology, culture, policy debate

JEL Classification: D70, D71, D80, D81, D84, Z00, Z10, I20, J7, J70, J71

Suggested Citation

Asad, Asad and Bell, Monica C., Winning to Learn, Learning to Win: Evaluative Frames and Practices in Urban Debate (February 17, 2013). Asad, Asad L. and Monica C. Bell. 2014. "Winning to Learn, Learning to Win: Evaluative Frames and Practices in Urban Debate." Qualitative Sociology 37(1), 1-26., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2397542

Asad Asad (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Sociology ( email )

33 Kirkland Street
William James Hall, Sixth Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Monica C. Bell

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
456
PlumX Metrics