Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

S. L. Crawley, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Sara Green, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Rubin, Ph.D.


Capitalism, Covid-19, Health, Individualism, Narratives, Necropolitics


As the death toll from Covid-19 in the United States exceeds 1 million in just over two years, more variants continue to emerge, threatening more waves of Covid-19 and ultimately, more deaths. Despite this, mask use continues to decline, and one third of Americans say that the pandemic is over. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been central in publicly disseminating biomedical knowledge using Twitter. The CDC’s Twitter account (@CDCgov) shares information related to the spread of Covid-19, including mitigation measures such as mask recommendations and vaccine information. I have conducted a narrative analysis of the replies to the CDC’s tweets about Covid-19 to understand narratives within the public’s response to CDC public health information dissemination. In this thesis, I demonstrate how, under capitalism, narratives of health focus on individualism, rejecting concern or responsibility for public health. A significant circulating narrative in public discourse on Twitter minimizes the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic. I argue that this narrative is evidence of the individualization of health under capitalism in the United States, and how necropolitical power is deployed through the minimization discourse, creating the conditions of slow violence and death worlds for the most vulnerable.