Australian Left Review

Article Title

An Uninspiring Synthesis


Kelvin Rowley


A considerable amount of research dealing with aspects of social stratification in Australia has been done over the last decade. Much of it has been produced for official enquiries, the best known being the Henderson Report on poverty. Some of it is the fruit of the private research of academic sociologists. Both the bureaucratic and the academic streams of research have been much alike — highly empirical, eschewing difficult theoretical problems in favour of dataprocessing. Both have usually aimed at the sort of "scientific objectivity" that comes from statistics and a supposedly value-free terminology. The consequence has been that some of the central (and, of course, controversial) issues in the study of social stratification are ignored. Paradoxically, they are buried in a welter of information.