Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Mirror of Judgement

Perhaps the most widespread interpretation of the role of judgement is to think of it as having its discriminative intentions focussed squarely upon the experience, thing or person being judged. Nonetheless, with every judgement also comes a significant and all too easily overlooked element of social positioning. To judge - to be in the position of exercising judgement - is an expression, demonstration and consolidation of prestige. In order to maintain prestige, judgement needs to be exercised on a regular basis. But wherever judgements are made there is also a likelihood of errors of judgement and a consequent risk that one’s professional credibility may be called into question. Therefore the more incontestable those who judge can make their judgements, the better (for them). Numerous strategies for ensuring incontestable judgements have thus evolved; from obscurantism and mysticism on the one hand to the establishment of convoluted laws, regulations and elaborate evaluative criteria on the other.

So, whilst much judgement can be seen as an attempt to exercise fine-grained intellect, discernment and critical wisdom it can also be seen as a form of social segmentation, of in-groups and out-groups, of individuals who qualify and individuals who do not, of members and outsiders, of the invited and the excluded, of those who comply and those who rebel, of those who are welcomed and those who are banished, ostracised or incarcerated, of those who evaluate and those who are evaluated.


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