Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Please Let It Be the Placebo

Well, now, don't you look like a biomedical opportunist? Dragging through the Academic Underground today, I was solicited to be a part of a research study. 

Between the ages of 18-35?  Not much rounder than the average bear?  Swimming against the current of inevitable financial distress?  Earn $550 for five one-hour visits over a one month period!

No.  I'm not interested.  Biomed research at its body-preying finest.  I know they've resources aplenty, and experimental medical research demands observable subjects.  So why am I disturbed?  1.  The recruiters lead with money.  Recruiter: Couldn't you think of anything to spend $550 on?  Me: Sure.  CCCC.  But that was last week, and all the fine comp bloggers have dispersed the conference far and wide, floating notes and observations like so many generous leaflets into the blog-blowing wind.  2.  The presence of the recruiters is University sanctioned.  My read: the corporatization of the University given to physical intrusion. I don't know what is exchanged, what the University gets, that is, for allowing the recruiters on campus.  Must be something.  Or is it seen as a fair, prudent trade: $550 for experimental license.  The proposal situates students (and, heck, anyone who strolls past the table) as a bodily subject, an organism, rather than an intellectual subject.  Maybe that's my personal aversion, the chafe I'm feeling: the absence of a pedagogical ethic centered on the student. 

I know this is a jaded entry; medical progress hinges on experimentation. We've many fine enhancements in this life due to medical progress. But the experimental arrangement isn't as explicit as the financial reward for consenting.  The experiment is shrouded in a puff of fiduciary glitter.  So maybe that's all there is to it.  I want it to be done differently.  If you must exploit the hallway traffic of financially strapped students, pitch the research on the merits of the project, introduce it as experimental research, rather than teasing, "Hey, you want to make 550 clams?".  But that'd be bad for recruiting, which means that it won't happen this week or next, and so I'll quiet for now.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at March 30, 2004 1:56 PM to Slouching Toward