Evaluation regimes and the qualia of quality

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This paper concludes this journal issue by examining the regimes of evaluation that link qualia to qualities. I examine the practices through which qualisigns of value emerge, looking specifically at practices of evaluation and ranking in Chinese art school. As Chinese art students matriculate from high school to college, they pass from a regime of standardized testing in which highly technical realist drawings are anonymously scored and compared, to a regime of 'critique' organized around small-scale face-to-face performances in which teachers and students discursively construct an art object as an indexical icon of the student. In the test, qualia are isolated and converted into quantitative scores; in the critique, qualia are integrated into indexical icons of personality. I regard the test and the critique as instances of the two evaluation regimes most widely used in contemporary institutions: the quantifying regime and the rhematizing regime (cf. Gal 2005 and this issue).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-183
Number of pages15
JournalAnthropological Theory
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • China
  • art school
  • commensuration
  • qualia
  • rhematization
  • testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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