My previous post mentioned the recent AAPP conference on critical psychiatry. At this conference, Nev Jones proposed Derridean deconstruction as a starting point for an American critical psychiatry. As I mentioned, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting was taking place at the same time. I wonder whether the guide to the APA Annual Meeting could be a text to "deconstruct".
The welcome from the APA president in the guide mentions that the "field of psychiatry is
rapidly evolving with new science, new technologies,
new systems of care, and new collaborations and partnerships". In a conference of this sort, it is what she wants you to believe. But has there really been such progress? Perhaps it is just said to hide the real lack of progress.
Apart from the programme of sessions, courses, lectures, case conferences, talks, symposia, workshops and new research poster sessions, exhibitors display information about products and services related to psychiatry. The meeting would apparently not be possible without the sponsorship of exhibitors. Some provide extra sponsorship of the meeting and pay for advertisements. There are also promotional programmes supported by pharmaceutical companies.
There is no attempt to hide the commercialism of APA. In fact, the financial relationships with any commercial interest of presenters are listed, although there are a significant number who say they have nothing to disclose. The irony is that APA seems to think that by being so open about its commercial interests it has purified the scientific content of its meeting programme. In fact it does the reverse.