Scenario: Journalist rings an academic with a striking sounding statistic – say a 43% increase in the number of Victorians contacting the Department of Justice to complain about the behaviour of other adults – looking for an explanation.
The academic doesn’t actually know why there is a trend up or down, but not wanting to disappoint a journalist who needs copy, offers an all-purpose trend explainer. These are general changes that can, due to their broad nature, be used to explain all sorts of other changes. Hugh Mackay filled dozens of columns with all-purpose trend explainers.
But are we really left much the wiser when we get theorising like this?: Read the rest of this entry »