Silencing dissent in academia: the commercialisation of science

David Miller and Greg Philo's 'Personal space'

Universities and the academic community have been largely silenced as a source of dissent and independent critical thought. Why has this happened? What can we do about it? The rot set in with the release of the free market in Britain throughout the 1980s; publicly owned assets were privatised, unions attacked and the financial markets were deregulated in the big bang. Cumulatively this allowed the transfer of resources from the bulk of the populace to a tiny and increasingly rich minority. This resulted in a growth of corporate sponsorship and increased government control over research findings and over the research agenda itself. We are not psychologists, but given the applicability of psychological research to a range of controversial social issues we hope that the opinions we express in this article will serve to spur discussion in The Psychologist on how the commercialisation of science affects your discipline.

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