Tribal regimes in academia

Last week I asked why the politics and economics job markets seem to have different equilibria. Henry Farrell points me to an old blog post worth revisiting (link fixed):

Within Class I departments, there’s a good deal of variation across disciplines in the degree of factionalization within the elite departments and the solidarity of the exchange system, as measured by within-class exchanges of students.

Economics has the most cohesive elite faction and its “dominance over the entire discipline is overwhelming.” Class I Psychology departments, by contrast, are considerably more decentralized, with three contending factions.

Different measures bring out different aspects of the structure. Economics scores highest on all exchange-based measures of hierarchy and solidarity.

He’s summarizing a 2003 sociology paper on tribal regimes in academia. Worth a peek. Sadly I do not see an ungated copy.

17 thoughts on “Tribal regimes in academia

  1. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, see also Val Burris’s 2004 article “The Academic Caste System: Prestige Hierarchies in PhD Exchange Networks” in American Sociological Review.