Sol Encel 1925 – 2010

A late call on the passing of Sol Encel, a tireless writer and public intellectual, acknowledged as the father of  Australian sociology. He died suddenly and peacefully at home, aged 84, still engaged in a range of writing and research projects.

He came from Poland at the age of 4 and touched just about every  base that a high achieving academic and public intellectual could achieve. He was a prolific reader, writer, academic empire builder, networker and public intellectual on the social democratic side of politics. The worthy causes that he embraced are too numerous to list in a short post, they are treated  here.

His academic cv speaks for itself.

This is a tribute from Michael Pusey which signals the mixed legacy of Encel’s achievement. He shared the tragedy of his generation, that his views were shaped at a time when the ideas of classical liberalism and good economics were off the agenda for progressive intellectuals. As a result, academic Sociology became in some ways a black hole of intellectual activity, epitomised by the work of Pusey himself.

It is most unfortunate that a man of Encel’s intellect, committment and energy did not get a good understanding of  the very best ideas in economics and the other social sciences and make them available to the generations of students and researchers who he mentored.

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Nicholas Gruen
11 years ago

Thanks for the post Rafe. I knew Sol as he and my father were colleagues. In 1964 when I was a little kid Dad, Sol and someone else went to the NT to do a multi-disciplinary study in preparation for the equal wage case (for aborigines). dad didn’t make any friends by saying that though he was in favour of equal wages,equal pay would increase aboriginal unemployment – already precariously high. I don’t know what Sol thought or said. I remember him, though not well for occasional visits to our home when he was in town.