the athletic-and-academic industrial complex

mia0815

Senior Member
Taiwanese
Dismantling the athletic-and-academic industrial complex that has been built around affluent children might take a while. It's been reinforced by decades of shibboleths and false beliefs. Parents whose kids are barely out of toddlerhood brag about how good their kids are at soccer and speak about them getting college scholarships from their sport (which is very unlikely).

I Left My Homework in the Hamptons: What I Learned Teaching the Children of the 1%
by Blythe Grossberg

I'm not sure what 'industrial' in the underlined phrase means.
industrial

Please help. Thank you.
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    There is a whole industry built around affluent children's athletic and academic performance.

    You can look up "industrial complex" online, and other terms similar to yours such as "military-industrial complex" (this is probably the best known example). An "industrial complex" is essentially a collection of business interests tied to a particular aspect of society.

    I expect that the writer is more concerned about the pressures the children are under than the business interests associated with athletic and academic performance, but in using "industrial complex", the writer acknowledges that any moves to put children under less pressure will be resisted by businesses whose products support and promote competitiveness in children.
     

    peter199083

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Intrigued by the phrase 'industrial complex', I moved onto discover its origin as part of President Eisenhower's speech. The references made to its academic variant seems to me nearly exclusively American. Given my experience in some other countires, I wouldn't doubt this phenomenon as a universal commercial reality; yet what baffles me is its global prevalence in the English language.

    More specifically, may I ask whether the phrase 'academic industrial complex' has parachuted in other Anglophone regions?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Intrigued by the phrase 'industrial complex', I moved onto discover its origin as part of President Eisenhower's speech. The references made to its academic variant seems to me nearly exclusively American. Given my experience in some other countires, I wouldn't doubt this phenomenon as a universal commercial reality; yet what baffles me is its global prevalence in the English language.

    More specifically, may I ask whether the phrase 'academic industrial complex' has parachuted in other Anglophone regions?
    It is not an obvious term for me, but I have found in a number of questions that you have asked about this book that the writer's language is rather unusual. The writer appears to want to indicate that there is a whole industry based upon the children of the wealthy's academic and athletic achievement. The writer wanted a noun phrase to describe this, and their choice sounds reasonable to me. I think that if I had been writing this, I would not have chosen a simple noun phrase, though.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    There is a whole industry built around affluent children's athletic and academic performance.

    You can look up "industrial complex" online, and other terms similar to yours such as "military-industrial complex" (this is probably the best known example). An "industrial complex" is essentially a collection of business interests tied to a particular aspect of society.

    I expect that the writer is more concerned about the pressures the children are under than the business interests associated with athletic and academic performance, but in using "industrial complex", the writer acknowledges that any moves to put children under less pressure will be resisted by businesses whose products support and promote competitiveness in children.
    I don't think the writer necessarily intends to refer to businesses that support competitiveness.

    One of the definitions of industry in the WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English is
    "the aggregate of work, scholarship, and ancillary activity in a particular field, often named after its principal subject." In this case, adding the word 'complex' in the athletic-and-academic industrial complex signifies (to me) a well-entrenched, complicated phenomenon with many different aspects that are difficult to separate and untangle.
     

    peter199083

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    I don't think the writer necessarily intends to refer to businesses that support competitiveness.

    'Industry' surely doesn't refer to businesses that support competitiveness; it refers to businesses that maximise their profits under the name of boosting students' competitiveness. So 'industry' seems to me nothing but commercial.

    As per its military origin, President Einsenhower was concerned with the disequilibrium between executive and legislative branches of government, where defence contractors and weapon suppliers collude with government for profits in terms of industrialisation and mass-production.

    The writer in OP question is equally concerned with edcuation giving its way to business losing its intrinsic value. By speculation students study extra-curricular to gain skills for admission to private schools and Ivy League that in turn train them to get into Wall Street and legislature. They earn disproportionate share of economic growth as their wages or move bills closely linked to business interests, be it military, pharmaceutical or financial. 'Industry' sounds to me not only the one that commercially prepares them for academic progress, but also the one that feeds them back with salary, kickback and power.
     
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