Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication, Technology, and Society

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Kristen Okamoto

Committee Member

Dr. Andrew Pyle

Committee Member

Dr. Jordan Morehouse


Only 19.1% of people with disabilities are currently employed (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022b). Stigma associated with disability often forces people with disabilities to have limited options in terms of employment. This has caused organizations like Bitty & Beaus Coffee and The Prospector Theater to make it their mission to hire people with disabilities. To better understand how these organizations are communicating about disability online a thematic analysis of the Instagram pages of Bitty & Beaus Coffee and The Prospector Theater was conducted. The findings suggest that these organizations use the image and likeness of the employees with disabilities to garner positive reactions from their audience, while not providing many opportunities for these employees to discuss their own disability or employment. Most importantly, the findings built off Peterson & McNamee’s (2017) involuntary membership framework to introduce the potential for an added subsection entitled, (in)voluntary advocacy. This subsection posits that individuals may be put in circumstances to have to advocate for causes as part of their membership in an organization.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.