Date of Graduation

Summer 2013


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Isabelle Bauman


narrative theory, service members, US military, stories, reintegration

Subject Categories



This thesis uses the narrative paradigm to make sense of United States service members' reintegration experiences after a deployment to Iraq and/or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. The narrative paradigm assumes that all humans are storytelling beings and that telling stories allows us to make sense of the world around us. The current study asked service members, who had deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan post 9/11, to share their stories of coming home and transitioning back to civilian life. An interpretive research design was used to answer the research questions, using qualitative method, specifically narrative analysis to cull out overarching themes from individual service member narratives. There were seven emerging narratives where the individual service member narratives intersected. The first two narratives answered the first research question to explain what coming home from war is really like, in the service members' own words. The next four narratives all shared common challenges that service members faced upon transitioning back to a civilian world. The last narrative explained how service members often use and rely on camaraderie to make their transition easier. The study presented a new and unique take on the service member experience that resulted in a new understanding of how service members make sense of combat and reintegration.


© Elizabeth Pamfilis

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