23 SES 06 A, Research Politics and the Knowledge-Policy Relationship I
Contracting out research is an entrenched practice in New Zealand and Australian education (Davis, Sullivan & Yeatman, 1997). It arises from the neo-liberal social reforms of New Zealand in the 1980s (Boston, 1989), subsequently adopted and endorsed in Australia by the Kennett Government in Victoria (Alford & O’Neill, 1994). To an alarming extent, present-day contractualism, explicitly set up as a commercial transaction, rationalises its continuation by drawing on the so-called theorising of Osborne & Gaebler (1992), which identifies government agencies as making the policy decisions (the role of “steering”), while the contractor carrying out the research is responsible for service delivery (the “rowing”).
This paper analyses the implications of one contract research paradigm for academic integrity. It argues that with the persistence of neo-liberal frameworks for education around the world, increasing government intervention in academic research, and declining resources for education research, contractualism looms as a growing threat in Europe, North America and Australasia.
The research question of this analytical paper is, What are the implications of contract research (“contractualism”) for academic integrity in education research? The paper invokes Critical Discourse Analysis to identify power, control and the production and dissemination of a dominant discourse. It therefore critiques the discourse, language and constraints of the formal legal contracts drawn up by purchasers (cf Codd, 1995), concentrating on:
- the demands that purchasers place on providers (the contractors)
- power-relations between the purchaser and the provider
- the implications of contracts for research
- the construction and accessibility of knowledge
Alford, J. & O’Neill, D. (Eds). (1994). The Contract state : public management and the Kennett government. Geelong, Vic.: Centre for Applied Social Research, Deakin University. Blommaert, J. (2005). Discourse: A critical Introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Boston, J. (1989). Corporate management: The New Zealand experience. In G. Davis, P. Weller, & C., Lewis (Eds.). Corporate management in Australian government: Accountability and efficiency. Melbourne: MacMillan. Clark, H. (2004). Pragmatics of language performance. In L. Horn & G. Ward (Eds.), The handbook of pragmatics (pp. 365-382). Malden, MA etc.: Blackwell. Codd, J. (1995). Contractualism, contestability and choice : capturing the language of educational reform in New Zealand. In J. Kenway (Ed). Marketing education: Some critical issues. Geelong, Vic.: Deakin University Press. (pp. 101-116). Davis, G., Sullivan, B., & Yeatman, A. (Eds). (1997). The new contractualism? South Melbourne: MacMillan Education Australia. Osborne, D., & Gaebler, T. (1992). Reinventing government: how the entrepreneurial spirit is transforming the public sector. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. Wilson, M. (1997). New contractualism and the employment relationship in New Zealand. In Davis et al, 1997. Zifcak, S. (2001). Contractualism, democracy and ethics, Australian Journal of Public Administration. 60(2), 86-98.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
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