whoa, sociologists get paid less than anthropologists?

(from an ASA report on salaries in the social sciences)

Anthropology is dying and has been for twenty years. Even when it is spelled correctly. I guess it could be that because they are dying they have relatively fewer assistant professors and so the average anthropologist is more senior than the average sociologist.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

12 thoughts on “whoa, sociologists get paid less than anthropologists?”

  1. I was very surprised to see this too. The anthro job market is much worse than the soc job market, because a lot of anthro departments have been combined into soc departments or eliminated altogether. It’s certainly hard to imagine that salaries at the assistant prof level would be higher for anthropologists!


  2. Or, smaller/community schools are likely to have sociology departments but less likely to have anthropology. And they pay less, on average.


  3. Skewed salaries may also play a role. Anthro tends to get a lot of named chairs, what with all that great white discoverer ethos.


  4. May I gently remind my fellow scatterplotters to link to sources for the items we post here? We’ve all gotten a bit sloppy about this lately, I am afraid. Thank you kindly.

    -The Man


  5. Tina: Oops, thanks. I did, indeed, have a line saying it was from an ASA report, but apparently I pasted over it when I swapped the old graph from a new one.

    The ASA report is available to members on the ASA website, but requires a password and so can’t be linked to.


  6. @7 & @8 the evidence seems to suggest that employment opportunities for anthropology PhDs within their field is declining.

    The University of California prepared an analysis of job market trends for various graduate degree recipients. They found:

    “The employment outlook for Ph.D’s in anthropology suggests continuing job market difficulties. Through the year 2006, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that U.S. job growth for anthropologists will be slower than the average for all occupations. Competition for academic positions will be especially stiff (pg 27).”

    Alternatively, at some point I read over on Savage Minds that there has been an astronomical growth in the number of undergraduates earning BA’s in Anthropology over the past decade.

    I take the above evidence to suggest that structurally speaking, Anthropology is withering as a professional discipline. Students are pursuing Anthropology but don’t necessarily become Anthropologists.


    1. That graph at Savage Minds might provide a hint to explain it. Who shows years on a graph going from 2002-1966 going in the wrong direction? (the X-axis starts at 2002 and goes to the right to 1966). The folks at Savage Minds note this oddity as well. Perhaps it’s part of the post-modern turn krippendorf speaks of.


  7. @7 & @8: For a 1993 take on the “decline of anthropology” theme, see here: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_n11_v9/ai_13624717/.

    My underinformed impression is that the last 16 years hasn’t been much better. Cultural anthropology embraced postmodernism. Physical/biological anthropology showed better intellectual judgment, but the political climate wasn’t all that favorable, what with the anti-evolution loonies gaining influence in federal and state governments.


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