Social Science PhD student (in the US) here. My advisor does not meet with me (met twice in a year, did not meet the entire summer, took 2 months to reply to email). I feel extremely demotivated. I see other students in my program meeting with their advisors weekly, working out a dissertation topic, finding datasets and co-authoring. Should I change advisors? I am concerned because that would mean I'd need to change my research area and faculty can always put the blame on me and question my performance. I am 2 years into the PhD program, about to take comprehensive exams.
Yes. You are early on in the program and you should begin to work on changing advisors if you are not thriving under this advisor. When talking to new potential advisors, you can ask how they would handle the question of evaluating your performance given the switch. They can help to “go to bat” for you with their colleagues if questions come up about your performance. They may ask you to wait until after comps to officially switch if there is a chance that the switch could affect your passing. Usually, provided you pass comps, your performance is evaluated mainly by your advisor so this should not be a big issue.
This is hard to answer. Some people do well under such a system. Others actually need more frequent advice. It depends on how much progress you are making. But if you are still yet to take comprehensives, I don't see a particular issue as your dissertation research is still, I suspect, mostly ahead of you.
But this may also be the right time to switch if you think someone else will be better for you. Ask around.
In the US, it is pretty often the case that an "advisor" is assigned at entry to give advice on coursework and such as you go along. But also pretty common to switch at the point of starting comps. I chose my own dissertation advisor after finishing comprehensives and asking around for a bit to get ideas about who would be good. I didn't have to change sub-fields, however, as I had a few choices.
If this is the US, don't feel like you need to stick with an assigned advisor. Other places, I can't say, maybe it also works out.