MA (Master of Arts)
Communication and Storytelling Studies
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Wesley Buerkle, Wendy Doucette
This study examines experiences of utilizing government assistance in the United States. It focuses on the ways in which persons participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) communicatively managed their lives in relation to their role in the program. Specifically, the research reveals that SNAP recipients are master managers. After synthesizing the pre-existing body of research concerning social assistance in the U.S. and its effects on those who utilize it, the author argues that sharing the stories of marginalized groups can serve to reduce stigma surrounding government assistance participation. Employing a Feminist Standpoint Theory sensibility to elicit such stories, the author drew out narratives gathered through qualitative interviews with current SNAP participants. Findings indicate that communicative management of SNAP participation was experienced as multi-layered and complex. Positioned to navigate the carceral environment of the SNAP program, participants adopted various disciplined communicative actions as they managed program membership, stigmatized identity, and behavioral surveillance.
Thesis - Open Access
Gay, Kallie, "Becoming a Master Manager: An Analysis of SNAP Recipient Stories of Navigating Government Assistance" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 3556. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/3556
Copyright by the authors.
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