Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Anthropology, MA

Committee Chair

Storey, Angela

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Tillquist, Christopher

Committee Member

Tillquist, Christopher

Committee Member

Raskin, Sarah

Author's Keywords

mental health; assemblage theory; health-related decisions; mental illness; care access


This thesis examines barriers to care access present in Louisville, Kentucky's community mental health care infrastructure, and how individuals who seek mental health care experience and navigate those barriers. This thesis expands research about the impacts of health care reform following the Affordable Care Act and adds to literature about the political economy of health-seeking behaviors. Drawing on assemblage theory and ethnographic research with both care-providers and care-recipients of Community Mental Health Care Organizations, I argue that both groups attempt to alleviate barriers to care access and facilitate mental health recovery through the development of formal and informal strategies. Examining the ways that these individuals find creative and agentive solutions to the challenges of structural and institutional precariousness and chronic mental illness can be useful findings for developing effective mental health interventions.