Date of Award

August 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Kathryn Olson

Committee Members

John Jordan, Leslie Harris, Elana Levine, Gwynne Kennedy


Advocacy, Family Caregiving, Inherency, Public Policy, Rhetorical Analysis


In this rhetorical analysis, I analyze pro-caregiving advocates, individuals and organizations who are attempting to energize policy change for unpaid family caregiving. I piece together an expansive text that includes online advocacy discourse, public policy statements, and hard copies of organizational promotional materials. Pro-caregiving advocates are attempting to expand shared responsibility for an issue that is traditionally assumed to be private--unpaid family caregiving.

Throughout this dissertation, I argue that pro-caregiving advocates are standing in the way of their own goals by rhetorically constructing inherent barriers to policy change. Each analysis chapter analyzes a dominant frame that is commonplace in pro-caregiving advocacy rhetoric (i.e., family, crisis, and care) and reveals inherent barriers to shared responsibility. In addition to locating the inherent barriers, each analysis chapter offers suggestions for navigating the barriers using the practical tools of rhetoric. As such, this dissertation will have practical usefulness for other social advocates who are championing a cause assumed to be private.