Conflicts in the Relationship between Research and Politics: Learning and Knowledge Restrictions from Political Influences on Research

By Paul Throssell.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

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Research is often utilised as being the basis for key areas of change in the world. These include knowledge development, the basis for changes in national governmental policies world-wide and (seemingly) the answer to a variety of world problems. With research valued so highly it can be argued that researchers should have independence in carrying out their sacred mission: to question values and to contribute to knowledge. Consequently, research should not be influenced detrimentally by the politics of institutional or governmental decision makers. Research energy can be drained by research involvement that is ‘side-tracked’ or deflected from a clear and transparent research focus towards the aims of those who seek to control research choices, activities and results for their own benefits. This paper critically examines differing levels of research activity and linkages to the influence of politics. The relationship between research and politics is complex and ever-changing. As a result of the shifting nature of the interaction there are elements of conflict and tension inherent in the relationship. However, politics acting in a unconstructive manner upon research can create tension and dissonance among research communities. It is suggested that the value of the research that is currently being encouraged within the hegemonic research community needs ongoing questioning. Intellectual curiosity in regard to seeking knowledge about learning is being restricted or even stifled leading to a need for a deeper understanding of how this is occurring.

Keywords: Research, Politics, Change, Learning

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.13-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 178.230KB).

Dr. Paul Throssell

Lecturer in TESOL, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Paul Throssell is a lecturer in TESOL, a life coach and writer on global educational change. He believes strongly in enabling people to choose and build better personal futures, to develop ways to make lives more successful. He also believes that learning to achieve what we want in our lives should be enjoyable, stimulating and purposeful. Paul has lectured at university on teaching and learning for many years, specializing in innovative ways to engage learners. Moreover, he has also written and presented internationally on areas related to lifelong learning and been a ministerial appointee on Home Education. He has achieved a doctorate focused upon agelessness transformation, on breaking our stereotypes of age and living agelessly.