Tuesday, January 23, 2007

May be an important early indicator of something I'd rather not see happen

(Warning: inside baseball for poli sci folks.)

Have a look at the pretty pictures in APSA's latest job market survey.

We traditionally identify political science as made up of four core fiefdoms, ahem, subfields: American, comparative, IR, and theory. Then there's a lot of other stuff that some departments identify as available subfields or hiring priorities. Public law is the classic case, methods the obvious one in recent years.

By Figure 3, primary field for job listings, theory now looks like a member of the core four only as a matter of courtesy, and one doesn't place much stock in courtesy. The three other core subfields each had 180+ job listings. Theory at 62 is immediately followed by public law (60) and public admin (57, a surprisingly high number). It's a lot closer in magnitude to the trailing field, methods (28) than it is to any of the other three core fields.

Figure 4, tracking all fields listed in job ads (not just the primary fields) is even worse. After the big three, it's a big drop-off to... public policy, then public admin, then theory, with public law very near behind.

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