This paper is concerned with the tension between two different principles for establishing social order: the meritocratic principle and the principle of social fit. Drawing on professorial appointment procedures from the second half of the 20th century, I will show how status allocation in the sciences is led by both meritocratic orientations and the requirement to recruit candidates that 'fit.' The first part of the contribution reveals how the meritocratic principle is interpreted and practically realized in professorial recruitment. The second part shows how appointment committees deal with the tension between their own meritocratic orientation and their evaluations that are not performance oriented. The paper contributes to a more differentiated understanding of meritocracy in evaluative situations, highlighting that the practical realization of the meritocratic principle is simultaneously functional and complicating for the allocation of status positions.
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