Honorary Adjunct Associate Professor Helen Meekosha

Associate Professor
School of Social Sciences


+61 (2) 9385 1862
+61 (2) 9662 8991
Room G52, Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: Social Work, Sociology, Other Studies in Human Society
Tags: Ability and Disability, Disability and Functional Capacity, Law, Politics and Community Services, Cultural Understanding


 Originally from the North of England, Helen worked as a community worker in the nongovernment sector until 1988 when she took a job teaching Community Work in the School of Social Work at UNSW. Her research is now located at the intersection between race,gender and disability relations. Her work in Critical Disability Studies has broken new ground in setting disability in a context of neoliberalism and globalisation, in particular arguing the case for an examination of global North/ South relations that affect the incidence and production of disability. She is a currently one of three Chief Investigators on an ARC Discovery research project examining the nexus between Disability and Rurality, another unexplored field of inquiry in Disability Studies. This research also examines the almost untouched intersections between Aboriginality and Disability in remote and rural Australia.

She has recently edited a special issue of Third World Quarterly with Karen Soldatic (2011) on disability and  edited a special volume of Critical Sociology  in 2013. She is the co-editor of a forthcoming book published by Routledge - The Global Politics of Impairment and Disability: Processes and Embodiments.Helen has been involved in Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) since its inception. As President of WWDA she accepted the prestigious National Human Rights Award in 2001. More recently, she spoke on behalf of the organisation at a High Level Panel at the 56th session of United Nations
Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), New York in 2012. This was the first time in 56 years a panel on disability had been included in the UNCSW. Her research and public engagement has always been located in activist politics of
policy change and the implementation of human rights.

Helen has undertaken collaborative research with colleagues in Japan, the US, UK and Canada. She has been a vistiing Scholar at Ruskin College, Oxford Noted Scholar in feminist disability studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and Visiting Scholar on the Ed Roaberts Program ay UC Berkeley.

Research Areas

Disability, ethnicity, gender, race, citizenship, human rights, social movements, media and the body, communications , multiculturalism, politics of diveristy, care and caregiving

Current Research Projects

Disability in rural Australia
Barbara Pini (Curtin), Karen M Soldatic (Curtin) Helen Meekosha (UNSW) and Carol Thomas (Lancaster), ARC Discovery Grant (2011-2013). In rural Australia 21.2 per cent of the population has a disability while in remote areas the number is 22.1 per cent yet rural disabled people are rarely heard in policy debates. This study, mapping the experiences of disabled people in non metropolitan Australia, is consequently of critical importance to government and disability advocacy groups.

Postgraduate Research Supervision

Areas of Supervision
Disability, human rights, global South/ global North relations, social movements, media and the body, communications , multiculturalism

Recent Postgraduate Research Completions  

  • Leanne Dowse, PhD Social Work, 2007, Stand up and give 'em the fright of their life: A study of intellectual disability and the emergence and practice of self-advocacy
  • Karen Armstrong, MA Sociology, 2008, A study of social change in Saharawi refugee camps: Democracy, education and women's rights
  • Wai Lim Wong, PhD Sociology, 2010 The free economy and Confucian filial piety: Ageing policy, welfare governance, and residential care in Hong    Kong
  • Elizabeth Jean Pearce MA Social Science,2010, No Wrong Door: the limitations of intervention models for substance misuse individuals who have co-existing mental health problems

 Current Postgraduate Research Supervision 


Teaching areas
Advocacy and social action, disability and social work, community work

Current teaching
SOCW2002 Society and Social Work 1
SOCW2004 Society & Social Work 2
SOCW2006 Social Work Practice: Community Work
SOCW3008 Selected Studies 1SOCW4003 Selected Studies 2

Affiliation and Memberships

  • Member, Editoral Advisory Committee, Disability and Society
  • Member, Editorial Advisory Committee, JORSEN,
  • Member, Internationla Advisory Board, Disability and the Global South (DGS)
  • Member, The Australian Socioogical Association
  • Member, The Society of Disability Studies

Other Information

  • Editor, Special Edition of Third World Quarterly (with Karen Soldatic, Curtin) and Special Edition of Critical Sociology
  • Co-Convenor, Disability Theme Group, The Australian Sociological Association




    • Meekosha H; Soldatic K, (eds.), 2011, Third World Quarterly, Special Edition Disability and the Global South, Sage, London, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2011.614800
    • Meekosha H, (ed.), 2005, Encyclopedia of Disability, Original, Sage Publications, Inc

    Book Chapters

    • Shuttleworth R;Meekosha H, 2017, 'Accommodating Critical Disability Studies in Bioarchaeology', in Byrnes JF; Muller JL (ed.), BIOARCHAEOLOGY OF IMPAIRMENT AND DISABILITY: THEORETICAL, ETHNOHISTORICAL, AND METHODOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES, edn. Bioarchaeology and Social Theory, SPRINGER INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING AG, pp. 19 - 38, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56949-9_2
    • Meekosha H;Shuttleworth R, 2016, 'What’s so “critical” about critical disability studies?', in The Disability Studies Reader, Fifth Edition, pp. 175 - 194, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781315680668
    • Meekosha H;Wannan A;Shuttleworth R, 2016, 'The politics of diversity in Australia: Extending the role of community practice', in Politics, Power and Community Development, pp. 139 - 157
    • Meekosha H;Soldatic K, 2013, 'Disability-inclusive social work practice', in Social Work Practice for Promoting Health and Wellbeing: Critical Issues, pp. 144 - 156, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203112816
    • Frohmader C;Meekosha H, 2012, 'Recognition, respect and rights: Women with disabilities in a globalised world', in Disability and Social Theory: New Developments and Directions, pp. 287 - 307, http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137023001
    • Soldatic K;Meekosha H, 2012, 'Disability and Neoliberal state formations', in Watson N; Roulstone A; Thomas C (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies, edn. 1, Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 195 - 210, http://www.ewidgetsonline.net/dxreader/Reader.aspx?token=43dc1ae27aca45f89779545a042b7aa1&rand=302968264&buyNowLink=&page=&chapter=%20(copyright%20and%20contents%20page)
    • Meekosha H, 2011, 'Equality and difference - What’s in a concept?', in The Community Development Reader: History, Themes and Issues, pp. 171 - 192
    • Dowse LM;Frohmader C;Meekosha H, 2010, 'Intersectionality: Disabled Women', in Easteal P (ed.), Women and the Law in Australia, edn. 1st, LexisNexis Butterworths, Chatswood, pp. 249 - 268
    • Meekosha H, 2007, 'Drifting Down the Gulf Stream: Navigating the Cultures of Disability', in Watson N (ed.), Disability: Major Themes in Health and Social Welfare, edn. 1, Routledge, London
    • Meekosha H, 2007, 'Disability Politics', in Galligan B; Roberts W (ed.), Oxford Companion to Australian Politics, edn. Original, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 160 - 162
    • Meekosha H, 2002, 'Changing Discources of Disability and Human Rights in Australia', in UTS/Pearson Education (ed.), Power And Change in Australia, edn. Original, Pearson Custom Publishing, Sydney, Australia
    • Meekosha H;Jakubowicz A, 2001, '`Silence is..` Disability Studies Dis/engages with Multicultural Studies', in Kalantzis M; LCope B (ed.), Reconciliation, Multiculturalism, Identities: Difficult Dialogues, Sensible Solutions, edn. Original, Common Ground Publishing, Sydney, pp. 87 - 100
    • Meekosha H, 2001, 'The Politics of Recognition of the Politics of Presence: The Challenge of disability Representation', in Sawer M; Zappala G (ed.), Speaking for the People; Representation in Australian Politics, edn. 1, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, pp. 163 - 180
    • Meekosha H, 1999, 'Feminism disability and the body', in Feminist perspectives on the body, edn. Original, Deakin University Press, Geelong, pp. 81 - 98
    • Meekosha H, 1998, 'Feminism and disability', in Oxford companion to Australian feminism, edn. Original, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 408 - 409
    • Meekosha H, 1998, 'Body battles: bodies, gender and disability', in The disability reader: social science perspectives, edn. Original, Cassell, London, pp. 163 - 180
    • Meekosha H;Jakubowicz A, 1996, 'Disability, participation, representation and social justice', in Disability and the dilemmas of education and justice, edn. Original, Open University Press, Buckingham, UK, pp. 79 - 95
    • Meekosha H;Mowbray M, 1995, 'Activism, service provision and the state`s intellectuals: community work in Australia', in Community participation and empowerment, edn. Original, Zed Books, London, pp. 140 - 153

    Journal articles

    • Meekosha H;Shuttleworth R;Soldatic K, 2013, 'Disability and Critical Sociology: Expanding the Boundaries of Critical Social Inquiry', Critical Sociology, vol. 39, pp. 319 - 323, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0896920512471220
    • Youll J;Meekosha H, 2013, 'Always look on the bright side of life: Cancer and positive thinking', Journal of Sociology, vol. 49, pp. 22 - 40, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1440783311417742
    • Shuttleworth R;Meekosha H, 2013, 'The Sociological Imaginary and Disability Enquiry in Late Modernity', Critical Sociology, vol. 39, pp. 349 - 367, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0896920511435709
    • Soldatic K;Meekosha H;Somers K, 2012, 'Finding Ernesto: Temporary Labour Migration and Disabled Children¿s Health', International Journal of Population Research, vol. 2, pp. 1 - 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/696753
    • Meekosha H;Soldatic K, 2011, 'Human rights and the global South: The case of disability', Third World Quarterly, vol. 32, pp. 1383 - 1398, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2011.614800
    • Meekosha H, 2011, 'Decolonising disability: Thinking and acting globally', Disability and Society, vol. 26, pp. 667 - 682, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2011.602860
    • Meekosha H, 2010, 'Contours of ableism: the production of disability and abledness', DISABILITY & SOCIETY, vol. 25, pp. 633 - 635, http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000280265600012&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a
    • Meekosha H, 2010, 'The Complex Balancing Act of Choice,Autnomy, Valued Life and Rights', International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, vol. 3, pp. 1 - 8
    • Meekosha H;Shuttleworth R, 2009, 'What's so ‘critical’ about critical disability studies?', Australian Journal of Human Rights, vol. 15, pp. 47 - 75, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1323238X.2009.11910861
    • Meekosha H;Dowse LM, 2007, 'Integrating Critical Disability Studies into Social Work Education and Practice: An Australian Perspective', Practice, vol. 19, pp. 169 - 183
    • Meekosha H, 2006, 'What the Hell are You? An Intercategorical Analysis of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Disability in the Australian Body Politic', Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, vol. 8, pp. 161 - 176, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15017410600831309
    • Meekosha H, 2005, 'Drifting down the Gulf Stream: navigating the cultures of disability studies (vol 19, pg 730, 2004)', DISABILITY & SOCIETY, vol. 20, pp. 228 - 228, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09687590500059424
    • Meekosha H, 2005, 'Gender, International', Encyclopedia of Disability, vol. 2, pp. 764 - 769
    • Meekosha H, 2005, 'Disability Studies: Australia', Encyclopedia of Disability, vol. 1, pp. 490 - 491
    • Meekosha H, 2004, 'Drifting down the Gulf Stream: Navigating the cultures of disability studies', Disability and Society, vol. 19, pp. 721 - 733, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0968759042000284204
    • Jakubowicz A;Meekosha H, 2004, 'Detecting Disability: Moving beyond metaphor in the crime fiction of Jeffrey Deaver', Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 24, pp. 1 - 3
    • Meekosha H, 2003, 'Communicating the Social - Discourses of disability and difference', Australian Journal of Communication, vol. 30, pp. 61 - 68
    • Meekosha H;Jakubowics A, 2002, 'Bodies in Motion: critical issues between disability studies and multicultural studies', Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 23, pp. 237 - 252
    • Meekosha H, 2002, 'Virtual Activists? Women and the Making of Identities of Disability', Hypatia, vol. 17, pp. 67 - 88
    • Meekosha H, 2000, 'A Disabled Genius in the Family: Personal musings on the tale of two sisters', Disability and Society, vol. 15, pp. 811 - 815, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713662006
    • Meekosha H;Jakubowicz A, 1999, 'Disability political activism and identity making: a critical feminist perspective on the rise of disability movements in Australia the USA and the UK', Disability Studies Quarterly, pp. 393 - 404
    • Meekosha H, 1999, 'Superchicks, clones, cyborgs, and cripples: cinema and messages of bodily transformations', Social Alternatives, vol. 18, pp. 24 - 28
    • Meekosha H;Dowse L, 1997, 'Enabling citizenship: Gender, disability and citizenship in Australia', Feminist Review, vol. 57, pp. 49 - 72, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/014177897339650
    • Meekosha H, 1997, 'Disability and Popular culture - Visiting the new neighbours`', Just Policy: a journal of Australian social policy, vol. 11, pp. 60 - 61
    • Meekosha H, 1997, 'Legs, Loo signs and Issues of Access`', Refractory Girl, pp. 4 - 5
    • Meekosha H;Dowse LM, 1997, 'Distorting Images, Invisible Images: Gender, Disability and the Media`', Media International Australia, vol. 84, pp. 91 - 101
    • Meekosha H;Jakubowicz A;Dowse LM, 1997, 'Exposing Mass Culture to Disability Issues`', Accessing Creative Expression, pp. 8 - 9
    • Meekosha H, 1994, 'Anger and angst: Responding to hate, conflict and violence in the Australian community', Community Development Journal, vol. 29, pp. 158 - 168, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cdj/29.2.158
    • Meekosha H, 1991, '“As long as you are willing to wait”: Access and equity in universities for students with disabilities', Higher Education Research & Development, vol. 10, pp. 19 - 39, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0729436910100103
    • MEEKOSHA H, 1989, 'RESEARCH AND THE STATE - DILEMMAS OF FEMINIST PRACTICE', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL ISSUES, vol. 24, pp. 249 - 268, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.1839-4655.1989.tb00868.x

    Conference Papers

    • Meekosha H;Frohmader C, 2010, 'Recognition, Respect and Rights: Disabled Women in a Globalised World', in Conference Proceedings Regional Conference on Women with Disabilities, Guangzhou Association of Disabled Women, Guangzhou, pp. 23 - 40, Guangzhou, 29 - 31 March 2010
    • Meekosha H, 2006, 'More than Just a Footnote? Can Intersectionality Deal with a Critical Disability Analysis?', in International Sociological Association (ed.), Sociological Abstracts, XVI ISA World Congress of Sociology: The Quality of Social Existence in a Globalising World, Durban, South Africa, pp. 165, presented at XVI ISA World Congress of Sociology: The Quality of Social Existence in a Globalising World, Durban, South Africa, 23 - 29 July 2006
    • Meekosha H, 2002, 'Disability Policies and Programs in Australia', in Hagiwara Y (ed.), International Comparative Study on disability Policies and Programs in the 21st Century in Asia and the Pacific, International Comparative Study on disability Policies and Programs in the 21st Century in Asia and the Pacific, Tokyo, Japan, pp. 147 - 173, presented at International Comparative Study on disability Policies and Programs in the 21st Century in Asia and the Pacific, Tokyo, Japan, 01 - 01 January 2002
    • Meekosha H, 2001, 'Rethinking Care', in Global Conference on Rethinking Care, Global Conference on Rethinking Care, Oslo, Norway, presented at Global Conference on Rethinking Care, Oslo, Norway, 22 - 25 April 2001
    • Meekosha H, 2001, 'In/different health: Rethinking Disability Gender and Health', in National Women`s Health Conference, National Women`s Health Conference, Adelaide, Sth Aust, presented at National Women`s Health Conference, Adelaide, Sth Aust, 19 - 21 February 2001

    Conference Proceedings (Editor of)

    • Meekosha H; Goodman J, (eds.), 2006, 'Social Movements in Action', Social Movements in Action, Sydney, presented at Social Movements in Action, Sydney, 03 June 2006


Advocacy and Social Action 4th year BSW elective

Disability and Social Work 3rd year BSW elective

Community Work BSW

Supervison of Honours MA and PhD

Professional contribution

Editoral Advisory Committee , Disability and Society
Editorial Advisory Committee, JORSEN

Editing Special Edition of Third World Quarterly ( with Karen Soldatic, Curtin)
Editing Special Edition of Critical Sociology

Co-Convenor Disability Theme Group The Australian Sociological Association

Related links


Other information

Research Grants
ARC Discovery ((2011-2013), with Barbara Pini (Curtin) and Karen M Soldatic (Curtin) - Disability in rural Australia, $180,884