Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Sara Green, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donileen Loseke, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lori Roscoe, Ph.D.


organizational stories, patients, health care


Health care organization’s functioning and operating within the complex and shifting landscape of the U.S. health care system develop and publicize narratives that inform audience members about the organization, such as who is being served (clients/patients), what problems the clients are facing, what the clients need, and how they should be morally evaluated. For this study, I am focusing on the research questions: (1) What kinds of images of organizational work are promoted by publicly broadcasted stories of “typical clients”? (2) What types of work do these narratives do? I employ a narrative perspective to analyze publicly broadcasted stories featured on the Austin Brody Cancer Center (pseudonym) (acronym: ABC) website. Health care organizations, like ABC, construct and publicly broadcast stories that utilize widely circulating systems of meanings, thereby producing an image of a specific type of person. From an “oppositional reading” lens, the patients’ stories act in a manner that directs attention away from the institutional structures of the U.S. health care system, while the dialogues of morality (re)produce social hierarchies and systems of domination. This, of course, is not the reading ABC encourages. Within this public, virtual space, these stories are about patients evaluated as ‘inspirational.’ Explicitly, these patients are to be models emulated by others. Analyzing the stories that cancer-specific organizations publicly broadcast offers insights into how images of patients are constructed. This is a necessary step into understanding the expectations and obligations of patients and physicians, as well as how organizations facilitate the relationship.

Included in

Sociology Commons