Friday, 1 January 2010

The academic-publishing complex

For whose benefit?

It would be fun to run a course on rubbish research, using 'research into Conductive Education' as a paradigm example.

It would involve matters socio-political and methodological, which might include, in no especial order of importance:
  • the career structure of academics and the sort of activities and products that gain them personal security and advancement
  • the linked structures of the academic publishing industry (do we have academic-publishing complex here like the military-industrial one?)
  • the limited understanding of 'science' and its ritualisation within a particular style of investigation
  • the uncoupling of so much such activity from actual social concerns and its lack of implication for effective actions
  • unquestioning equation of evaluation with research, research with science, science with understanding, understanding with wisdom (say it backwards and think reductionism)
  • the study, measurement etc.of what such science already knows, rather that pushing forward with new models and methods into what it does not
  • mindless commodification of anything called 'Conductive Education' and failure to manualise processed being evaluated, rendering evaluations after evaluation one-hundred-percent worthless by any definition of science
  • failure to account vital contextual, social, philosophical, historical factors
  • lack of intellectual vision and moral responsibility
  • the powerful whiff of job-creation
  • et al., ad naus...
It might then also be useful to think therefore of what might be needed instead. Probably relatively little of what we already have, and that includes the people and institutions presently involved.

These random thoughts were prompted by a couple of unsolicited New Year presents via Google Alerts. I have no idea why Google 'decided' now to cough this out (it cannot of course ;'decide', it is only a machine, I hope!). I presume that these references will have also been been delivered to everyone on the planet who has an Alert out for “Conductive Education”, and find their appropriate niche in the 'researching Conductive Education' research literature.

So it goes.


Christine Stiller, .C. Marcoux. B. C., Olson, R. E. (2003) The effect of Conductive Education, intensive therapy, and special education services on motor skills in children with cerebral palsy, Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 31-50

P. E. Ödman, P. E., Öberg, B. E. (2006) Effectiveness and expectations of intensive training: A comparison between child and youth rehabilitation and conductive education, Disability and Rehabilitation, vol. 28, no 9 :.pp 561-570

I do hope that all those who open this package adopt an appropriately critical attitude to what they find inside.. What do you think?

No doubt Conductive Education will continue anyway to serve as a minor source of income on the fringes of the academic-publishing complex, and those who fall for all this will continue to understand Conductive Education in the way projected here. Whose interests will have been served or protected along the way? Not those of Conductive Education, or those who might benefit from this approach, or most of those who work within it?

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