Kate Prickett

Ph.D. Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin

Kate Prickett



SOC S323 • The Family

87985 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM 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.

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