Friday, September 01, 2006

The C.V. below was written in 1975 and I have reproduced it here as a good illustration of my lifelong practice of telling it like it is and damn the consequences. The CV concerned would communicate clearly to the average timorous social science academic that I was not one of them and I did not in fact get a single job interview out of it!


I was born in 1943 in Innisfail, a small rural town at the heart of the sugar industry in North Queensland, Australia. My father is Frank Edward Ray and my mother is Margaret. Both my parents were Australian-born of Anglo-Saxon stock and my father's family was in fact one of the pioneer families in North Queensland. At the time of my birth my father was working in his favoured occupation as a timber feller (in North American parlance, a "lumberjack"). I have two sisters and one brother -- all younger than I.

I had my primary education from Innisfail State Rural School. In the examination that one took at the end of one's primary schooling (called the "Scholarship" exam), I obtained the overall mark of 79.7%. My only extra-curricular activities of any note during that time were my reasonably regular attendances at the local Presbyterian Sunday School and young people's group.

Owing to a family move, my secondary education was obtained at Cairns State High School. Cairns is a small seaport and tropical tourist resort 60 miles to the North of Innisfail. In the the fourth form examination (called "Junior") I obtained passes as follows: "A"s in English, German and Geography; "B"s in Latin, Maths A and Maths B; "C"s in Chemistry and Physics. This examination is equivalent to the New South Wales "Intermediate" and the English "0" level in rough terms.

I left school after this exam and became a State Government clerk (in the Public Works Dept.). The next three years were ones of intense evangelical Christian religious preoccupation, which ended in the bathos of complete atheism at age 19. During my religious period, I was however very active as a lay preacher and leading light in the local congregation. It was at that time that I leant the twin arts of public speaking and hair-splitting debate which have been so invaluable in later years. Social science and theology often do sound very similar. During this period, I left the public service for the purposes of taking part in a three-months long missionary drive. I finished my years in the faith therefore as an accounts clerk at a local Department store.

With the arrival of atheism, I decided to renew my secondary studies -- only to be much chagrined to hear that I would have to spend three years as an evening student to catch up the remaining years before matriculation. I had, however, just moved to Brisbane (the State capital) at this stage and I could find one subject which was taught over a one year period only up to the matriculation level. This was Botany. Being nothing lacking in self--confidence, I decided that the remaining four subjects I wished to study I would teach myself. I therefore obtained the syllabus and enrolled for the 1963 "Senior" examination. My results were: "A"s in English and German; "B"s in Italian and Ancient History and a "C" in Botany. I thus matriculated in one year as an evening student instead of the two that it normally takes a day student. I was during this year working behind a counter in a small hardware store.

From 1964 to 1967 I studied for the B.A. with honours in Psychology at the University of Queensland. 1964 and 1965 I spent as an evening student but I still managed to complete the degree in the minimum four years. While an evening student, I was working as a third-division Commonwealth Public Servant in the Dept. of Customs and Excise. My subject results were as follows: "Distinctions" in Psychology I and English IIB; "Credits" in Psychology IIB, Psychology IIIA, German I and German II; "Passes" in Psychology IIA, English I and Philosophy I. My thesis was on the topic: "Determinants of interpersonal distance" and got me a lower second class honours mark.

During my undergraduate days I was, appropriately enough, much involved in politics. I was a member of many organizations: From the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society and the Students for Democratic Action on the Left to the Young Liberals and the Queensland branch of the Nazi Party on the Right [The foregoing is a simplification for the sake of brevity. While I have never made any secret of the fact that I spent a lot of time associating with the local neo-Nazis -- see here, here and here -- there was in fact no real party that one could join, just people of similar mind who knew one-another]. It was remarkable how similar they all sounded. Another interest at that time was a poetry club which I was in fact for some time President of. From those days date the few poems I have had published. During my two years as a full-time student, I was also a member of the Australian Army Psychology Corps -- in the local C.M.F. (militia) unit. I obtained the rank of Sergeant and gained much valuable experience in the practical side of psychology.

At the beginning of 1968, I moved to Sydney and enrolled in the M.A. (honours) psychology programme at the University of Sydney. Since only day students were permitted to do this degree in one year, my customary impatience of bureaucrats telling me I cannot do something which I know perfectly well that I can reasonably do caused me to enrol as a day student even though financial need did in fact oblige me to work as a Graduate Clerk in the State Government Department of Technical Education. I did seminars in Abnormal, Social and General (philosophical) psychology and presented at the end of 1968 a thesis entitled " Authoritarianism and the Liberal-Conservative Dimension". I was awarded the M.A. with second-class honours in 1969. -- in a year where I am given to believe my marks were in fact the highest awarded for that course. Not being kept busy enough by a full-time postgraduate degree and a full-time job, I also in 1968 completed Economics I at the University of N.S.W. I was awarded a pass. My thesis was subsequentiy published as Chapter 2 in The Psychology of Conservatism by Glenn Wilson. It was however somewhat revised and shortened for publication purposes. In 1968 I also founded the Baroque Music Club --- which continues to this day. Early music has always been one of my major recreational interests -- though only from the standpoint of a listener.

In 1969 and 1970 I was enrolled as a Ph.D. student at Macquarie University in the School of Behavioural Sciences. I transferred from Sydney to Macquarie because Macquarie was much stronger in Social Psychology -- which had by then become my field. As I still had not yet gotten a Commonwealth Postgraduate Award, I again had to work to support myself. This I did both by a heavy programme of part-time tutoring in the School of Behavioural Sciences and by teaching economics in a regional Catholic school nearby -- also part-time. My economics pupils did, as a matter of interest, get outstanding results in the Higher School Certificate examinations of that year. As I recollect, four were on the order of merit list and one came fourth in the State. All passed. The school was Cerdon College, Merrylands -- a girl's school run by the Marist Sisters. Merrylands is a very working-class area not normally noted for scholarship. In the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie, I tutored in Learning (white rat experiments), Comparative Psychology (mouse experiments), and Introductory Psychology(half-baked experiments) as well as Measurement (half-baked surveys) and Social Psychology itself. With my surplus energies I began the programme of research and publication that continues to this day. This resulted in about a dozen published articles before I left Macquarie and a Ph.D. thesis entitled "Authoritarianism and working-class ideology". I presented this thesis initially at the end of 1970 but incredible delays over marking meant that the degree was not actually awarded until 1974. My thesis later appeared in print in condensed form as chapter 43 of my book Conservatism as heresy (A.N.Z. Book Co., Sydney, 1974), In addition to the thesis, I also completed two seminar courses in Person Perception and Philosophy of Psychology. The philosophy course was in fact an undergraduate course including lectures which could also be counted for postgraduate credit in Behavioural Sciences. It was thus the third lecture and tutorial course in philosophy that I had completed. (The others being Philos. I at Qld. and General Psychology in the M.A. programme at Sydney).

At the beginning of 1971 I took up a lectureship, with tenure, in Sociology at the University of New South Wales. My main fields of teaching since then have been in Measurement and Social Attitudes. The former has always been a very unpopular topic with both students and staff -- who are more speculatively-oriented than data oriented. I find this rather exasperating and tend in consequence simply to do my own thing as far as research and writing are concerned. This policy has resulted in over forty articles so far published in academic journals and an equally large number of chapters in books. Most of these articles report results of research but all have a substantial theory content. There are in addition a significant number of purely theoretical articles in the total set. I have also published one book.

The fields of my interest are best read off from my list of writings. Although my name is perhaps usually associated with studies in authoritarianism, papers directly on that topic number only twelve out of more than eighty papers all told. I have had one year of experience in course administration in 1973 when I was second-year course director. Because I refused to bow to student pressure to remove all practical work from the Measurement course in that year, however, there was sufficient unrest for me not to be reappointed in subsequent years. So much for academic standards.

Some years ago, I also spent one year as a part-time teacher of economics and geography at one of Sydney's progressive schools. I did this with permission in addition to my normal university teaching duties. This activity was an outcome of my interest in educational philosophy and did serve to strongly reinforce my impression that progressive education can only ever be for the few. For all that, my students did again do quite well in their H.S.C. examination.

Another form of participant observation research I have been involved in is taxi-driving. Again, I have been doing this with permission and find it serves very well to keep me in contact with what ordinary Australians are like. I usually take only one shift a week but even this does have the curious effect of enabling me to claim more Maoist righteousness than any of my colleagues -- whose Leftist enthusiasms seldom stretch so far as to actually go out and do workers' work. As I am most un-Maoist by conviction, the whole thing can be very amusing.

One skill which I have acquired not at any particular time but rather over all of the last eight years is is FORTRAN programming. Ever since my B.A. honours work, I have used the computer to make my research easier and I have got to the point where several of the programs I have developed are in print. To be honest, computer programming was in fact for some years one of my major recreational interests but this has now passed. Nonetheless all the things that an academic is supposed to do I would do even if I was not paid for it. I enjoy teaching, I enjoy research and I enjoy writing.

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