Department of Sociology

Kate Prickett

The University of Texas at Austin

Kate Prickett



Kate Prickett is a PhD candidate in Sociology with specializations in Demography and Family. Her research agenda focuses broadly on how the connection between family contexts and children's health and wellbeing is implicated in the intergenerational transmission of inequality. This research is organized by an integration of stratification theory and the life course paradigm that emphasizes how interpersonal processes between parents and children are embedded within a complex array of proximate ecological settings (e.g., work, family) and broader systems of stratification (e.g., socioeconomic, gender).

Her dissertation uses life course theory to examine how dynamic maternal employment trajectories affect parenting, with a particular focus on employment transitions (such as job loss) and the moderating effect of work-family support policies.

Kate's other projects explore several areas of family dynamics, including the association between maternal employment contexts and child outcomes, the role of maternal education in parenting behaviors that affect children's health, family and child care instability, and family firearm safety.

Kate earned her Masters degree in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.


SOC S323 • The Family

87985 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am JGB 2.202



The family is one of the most basic and fundamental social institutions. Family can be a force that defines macro-level inequalities in society, but it is also shaped by other structural factors, such as the economy, culture, and policy. Despite these trends, the only consistent thing about family is change. In this course we will examine the changing nature of family throughout American history, looking at how social and cultural currents have transformed the ideology associated with family as well as the roles of individual members within the family. We will pay particular attention to the unique experiences, such as those of different ethnic groups and non-traditional families, to provide a more encompassing view of family as an institution.


In the first part of the course, we will approach the family from a macro-structural perspective, examining how families have organized and changed as a cultural, social, and legal construction. Topics covered include family ideologies, myths, and laws. The second part of the course will consider different types of families in the U.S., as well as different contexts of family life, including marriage, divorce, economic constraints on family life, and policy interventions. The last part of the course examines intra-family processes, with particular focus on the interactions and roles between family members, such as parenting, sibling relationships, and family abuse.

Curriculum Vitae

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  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    CLA 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086