Department of Sociology

Katherine Sobering

PhD, University of Texas at Austin

Katherine Sobering



Political Sociology; Social Movements; Work and Organizations; Gender; Qualitative Methods; Latin America


Katie is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology. Her research agenda examines questions at the intersection of political and organizational sociology with a focus on social change. 

Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Commission, her dissertation addresses core sociological debates on the causes and consequences of inequality. But rather than focusing exclusively on reproducing the status quo, it examines how people address and contest inequality at work. She conducted eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in worker-run, worker-recuperated businesses in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is currently writing a book manuscript based on this research. Other recent publications can be found in Sociological Forum, The Sociological Quarterly, and Sociology Compass, among others. 

Katie is also a Graduate Fellow and lab manager of the Urban Ethnography Lab, a group of faculty and graduate students that supports training and research using ethnographic and qualitative methods at UT-Austin. As part of this group, she played an integral part developing and executing a collaborative research project on labor market transformations in Austin, Texas, which resulted in the peer-reviewed book, Invisible in Austin: Life and Labor in an American City (UT Press 2015). Her chapter on Ethan received high praise, and a selection was reprinted in magazine, The Texas Observer.

Pursuing her interest in the lived experiences of social change, Katie has two additional projects that take on important questions about how politics and the state impact working life. She is currently working on a second collaborative project about political culture and social change in Texas with colleagues in the Urban Ethnography Lab. In addition, she is working with Javier Auyero on a project examining collusion and poverty in Argentina. 

Prior to graduate school, Katie worked in nonprofit organizations and earned a B.A. in Plan II Honors and a B.B.A. in International Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

To learn more about Katie, please visit her website.


SOC 319 • Intro To Social Demography

44922 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM UTC 3.124

 Course Description

This course provides an introduction to demography—the study of human populations—with an emphasis on current demographic trends in the United States. It addresses a series of broad questions: How are populations structured? What are the causes and consequences of population change? And how do public policies address these large-scale changes? This course has three primary objectives. First, students will become familiar with the theories and methods used to examine the social factors associated with population growth, mortality, health disparities, fertility, families, migration, and diversity. We will also explore how, when, and why these trends differ across populations. Second, this course will encourage students to think sociologically about demographic processes and develop a sociological imagination to connect individual experiences to broader demographic trends that impact the economic and political landscape of societies worldwide. Third and finally, it will prepare students to become more critical thinkers who are well equipped to understand and interpret information about social demography.


SOC 308K • Social Change And The Future

44445 • Spring 2016
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM CLA 1.106

Course Description

Inequality is a defining issue of our time. Income inequality has increased significantly and gender, racial/ethnic and class inequities largely define people’s life chances. But what can we do about these pressing social problems? Some propose taxation, others call for an increase in the minimum wage and better social services. Still others consider inequality at it source: “If you don’t want inequality, don’t distribute income unequally in the first place” (Wolff quoted in Dewan 2012).  This course zooms in on the workplace as a possible site of social change. It will begin by taking students back to the Industrial Revolution to examine the emergence of work under capitalism and the production of inequality in work organizations. Next, it will introduce theories of inequality and examine alternative work organizations such as worker cooperatives, analyzing how they compare to capitalist workplaces and how they may address workplace inequality. The second half of the course provides students an opportunity to critically evaluate four proposals to address inequality in the workplace. Overall, the three main learning objectives are: (1) to provide students with a historical understanding of the emergence and nature of capitalist work arrangements; (2) to introduce theories that explain the emergence and persistence of inequality in the workplace; and (3) to critically examine proposals for the future of work.  


This course draws on a variety of readings, including book chapters, journal articles and articles from popular media. All journal articles can be downloaded off the Univeristy of Texas Libraries website. Book chapters can be found in PDF form on Canvas. All books can be purchased in the University Co-op or online. One copy of each will be put on reserve at the PCL.

Exams and Grading

The final grade in the course is made up of a mid-term exam (35%), which will be given the week before spring break, four assignments (20%), regular class participation (10%) and a project (35%) that is due at the end of the semester. There is no final exam for this course.


  • Department of Sociology

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