Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Mariaelena Bartesaghi


consequentiality of communication, discourse analysis, expert and evidence, mental health policymaking, public policy analysis, textual analysis


Discourse creates the world of policy. Discourse plays a key role within policy formation; political discourse is made visible within particular discursive (spoken and written) practices. Hence, mental health policy is the endpoint of a discursive process and that it is, in itself, an institutional process. The shared understanding necessary to formulate policy is crucial to persons who are responsible for policy decisions and recommendations. Since the public perception is that public policy problems are too complicated for ordinary people to deal with, the policy problem is reframed into manageable "bits." It is how these "bits" are framed, named, and made sense of that concern me most in the policymaking process. The purpose of this dissertation is to make visible the often invisible processes that occur in the creation of that final report. To do so, I use a discursive approach and a selection of discourse tokens, both talk and text, to examine the workings of the Florida Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.