Making the Difference
Schools, families and social division
First published in 1982, Making the Difference has become a classic in the study of education and of Australian society. Hailed on publication as 'certainly the most interesting book written about Australian schools in a very long time [and] arguably the most important', it has since been recognised as one of the 10 most influential works of Australian sociology, 'not just a major argument, and a 'classic' point of reference, [but] an event, an intervention in ways of doing research and speaking to practice, a methodology, a textual style. it was designed to be read by a much wider audience than the standard sociological text, and it has succeeded'.
Making the Difference draws on a detailed study of the schools and homes of the powerful and the wealthy, and of ordinary wage-earners. It allows children, parents and teachers to speak for themselves and from what they say it develops strikingly new ways of understanding 'educational inequality', of how the class and gender systems work, and of schools and their social roles. 'Equality of opportunity', co-education, and 'relevant and meaningful curriculum' are all questioned, sympathetically but incisively.
Ranging across educational policy from system level to the everyday experience of kids and teachers, from the problems of schooling to the production of class and gender relations, this path-breaking combination of theory, research and politics remains engaging, thought-provoking, and relevant.
Table of Contents
1 Inequality and education
2 Families and their kids
3 Kids and their schools
4 Schools and the organization of social life
5 Inequality and what to do about it
Appendix: Details of method
RAEWYN CONNELL is University Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney; DEAN ASHENDEN writes on education and other issues; GARY DOWSETT is Professor in the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University, Melbourne; SANDRA KESSLER teaches adult literacy and English to speakers of other languages.