your dues at work!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the job market hasn’t exactly been great for sociologists the past couple of years. Say you get an e-mail from an acquaintance in a professional school who asks if you can help alert [area] sociologists to a multidisciplinary search they are doing. Hiring a sociologist is just one of several directions in which the search might go.

You send the e-mail to the president of the [area] sociology section, but the president tells you that jobs cannot be sent out on ASA listserv unless they are listed in the ASA job bank. (Indeed, the section president emphasizes that ASA’s leadership has become aggressive in enforcing the policy.) The ASA job bank won’t list the search unless the unit pays ASA ~$200/month, which doesn’t make sense to the unit since (1) they are only maybe interested in a sociologist and (2) they were just trying to get the announcement sent out to a listserv in the first place.

So, well, either you can e-mail the announcement to [area] sociologists you know and ask them to spread the word. Which I’ll probably do. But should ASA really be spending energy to restrict use of their listservs in ways that work to reduce sociologists’ awareness of jobs?

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.

13 thoughts on “your dues at work!”

  1. Yes. It will cause there to be fewer sociologists, increasing the pay of the currently-employed and generally making ASA more able to return to ATL every few years until someone finally realizes that paying the fine and never again going there in August will make the four remaining members like them.

    Also, if the job goes to an economist, it will improve both professions.


  2. Well, as I’m not good at humor, I’ll just say I agree with Jeremy and propose that we circulate an email petition among sections to have this rule rescinded ASAP. Does ASA say who made up the rule? Was it a staff decision or a vote by some misguided ASA committee?


      1. Ooops sorry to be off line for so long. I just did what I think is a reasonable first step: I sent email to the ASA executive office and section coordinator asking whether there really is such a rule, and expressing my opinion that this is a problem because of interdisciplinary postings. I said that this is being rumored about in blogs and a quick answer would be helpful. My email was polite and asking for information.

        If you got your information directly from ASA, do let us know. I actually can’t see how they could be enforcing this, as when I send email out to the section I chair, I get a “message sent” response almost instantly. There cannot be anyone monitoring this before messages are sent.


      2. (I’ve communicated offblog to olderwoman with more details, but, yes, this isn’t just a rumor. There was an actual job announcement sent to an actual section president who refused to forward it because s/he said she had already been “reprimanded” by ASA for sending out a job announcement that wasn’t registered in the job bank.)


  3. i’m thinking “exit” is a better strategy than “voice.” just create a free site that will post any reasonable listing for free but aside from that have no content whatsoever. in fact, i just did it

    if you want to help, email me (rossman at soc dot ucla dot edu) and i’ll give you admin rights.


    1. Beautiful! I’ll be sending you two job ads soon for open area assistant professor jobs here at Southern Illinois!

      ASA-etc. still have a nice little gig going. Any department chair can tell you that the EEOC office is gonna wanna see a paid bill for an ad or two. But most departments need to keep that to a minimum in order to keep paper in the copier machine and toner in the printers.


  4. I should maybe say that I am somewhat sympathetic to the underlying impulse to support the job service by expecting payment from sociology departments. It is a good thing, not a bad thing, to have a centralized job listing, and for all his entrepreneurial spirit, I’m suspecting that gabriel may tire fairly soon of being in charge of administering a free alternative and keeping spam and obscenities off it. Especially since it cannot duplicate the coverage of the ASA site unless you also go to the effort to publicize the site’s existence everywhere. Instead, it just means that people looking for jobs in sociology now have to look at least two places and check for overlaps between them, instead of being able to work with the ASA site in one organized approach.

    In fact, I’d even support a measure to reduce section junk mail by NOT using the listservs to send around ads that are already posted to the job bank. (I’m also pretty tired of getting multiple copies of exactly the same emails through different section listservs about yet more sections in formation that are trolling for new members.)

    But I concur with Jeremy’s original sentiment that it is a good thing, not a bad thing, for sections to use listservs to promote interdisciplinary job postings that are not going to be put on a sociology site and would be of interest to a specialized audience.


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