The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 12th, 2014
Pity the poor researchers at the American Sociological Association.
Every year they crank out a report—one of the most thorough of its
kind—assessing the state of the academic job market in their field.
Every year their findings can be characterized in one of two ways:
either “downright bleak” or “cause for cautious optimism.” And every
year, they have to come up with a reasonably catchy title.
Now that we’ve reached Report No. 6, released yesterday,
these titles have begun to take on a cumulative force. They’re actually
a pretty decent at-a-glance summary of the market’s recent
trajectory: two parts TL;DR, one part found poetry.
In its recap of 2008—drawn, like all subsequent studies, from
postings in the ASA’s own job bank—the association asked a question with
dark intimations: “Down Market?” The following year—when job listings cratered, dropping by 35 percent—we got our answer: “Still a Down Market.” Well, that’s sorted, then.