Kathleen (Kate) Ragon

M.A., 2015, Sociology, University of Connecticut
Thesis Title: “How Do You Define Yourself?”: Mobilizing Leadership in the Graduate Employee Union Movement

B.A., 2013, Sociology, Gettysburg College, Phi Beta Kappa
Thesis Title: The Minimum Wage, Decent Wages, and Time Sovereignty in the European Union

Areas of Research: Collective Behavior/Social Movements, Organizations, Labor

Dissertation: Sisyphus or Hercules?: Exploring the Institutional Impact of Graduate Employee Unionization

My dissertation explores the outcomes of graduate employee unionization on the contemporary research university to understand what, if any, impact graduate employee unions have on the market logic of higher education in the United States. At its core, this is a project about institutional change and the power dynamics that make it happen. This study draws on data from ethnographic participant observation, in-depth qualitative interviews, and analysis of text sources at a large research I university in the Northeastern United States with a recently formed graduate employee union. To explain the processes by which graduate employee unions effect change within higher education, I use theories from two bodies of literature that address different mechanisms of institutional change: social movement outcomes theories and theories about institutional logics.

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