By highlighting a collaborative praxis between performative interviewing and affect theories, this essay theorizes interpretive discernment as an orientational and conceptual foundation that paves the way for performative interviewing. Interpretive discernment—the process of sensing and interpreting affective registers—encompasses both a methodological orientation and an analytical heuristic. We argue that interpretive discernment builds an interpretive architecture that expands our vocabulary, heightens our ability to listen for the affective in interviews, homes in on methodological nuances that enrich critical qualitative approaches to interviewing, and provides a structure to performative interviewing analysis.

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