Prof. Roni Holler (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel),

Dr. Susan Levy (University of Dundee, UK),

Dr. Limor Gadot (Sapir Academic College, Israel),


Description and Aims:

In recent decades, we have witnessed a paradigmatic change in the way disability is conceptualized and treated. As part of this tectonic shift, disability activists, researchers, and professionals have increasingly challenged the traditional individual deficit views of disability. They have called for alternative constructions of disability, recognizing it as resulting from social oppression and exclusion. These social orientations encompass various models and theories, which are based on diverse, and sometimes contradictory, ontological and epistemological assumptions. What remains common among all these approaches is the focus on addressing social barriers as the primary route to inclusion. This paradigmatic transformation, accompanied by recent policy changes, has significant consequences for social work professionals. Most importantly, it offers social workers a significant opportunity to take a leading role in addressing barriers within society, promoting disability rights, and creating more inclusive societies where the voices of disabled people are integral within social work practice.  However, this opportunity is not without its challenges, as various scholars have highlighted that the profession often falls short in realizing its social justice vision across all levels of intervention: micro, mezzo, and macro.

The general aim of the "Social Work and Disability" SIG is to be an academic forum for exploring the policy and practice context of social work with disabled people, and to develop creative ways to achieve more inclusive practices that lead to positive outcomes for disabled people.  The aim is to bring together researchers with different methodological backgrounds to examine, compare and evaluate how disability and disability-related practices are conceptualized and implemented in different European countries, as well as to foster research collaboration around these issues. The SIG will also focus on sharing experiences and ideas related to research methodologies, especially those that actively involve the participation of disabled individuals and their relatives/carers. The SIG will cover a wide range of disability-related topics and life domains, including employment, diversity, sexuality, community living, poverty, social services, abuse, parenthood, social care, migration, education, and more.



1.      To coordinate and host SIG events during ESWRA conferences.

2.      To create a mailing list for disability researchers in the field of social work.

3.      To open up collaborative research, publication, and networking opportunities.



SIG members (initial list):

Dr. Jurga Mataitytė-Diržienė, Vilnius University, Lituania (

Prof. Darja Zaviršek, Faculty of Social Work, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (

Prof. Shirli Werner, School of Social Work, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel (

Prof. Heidi Pedersen, Department of social work, Norwegian University of science and technology (

Dr. Susan Flynn, School of Social Work & Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Ireland (

Dr. Ayelet Gur, Tel-Hai College, Israel (

Dr. Menny Malka, Sapir Academic College and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel (

Dr. Maria Turati, Social Work and Personal Social Services, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. (

Filippa Klint, Doctoral student, School of behavioural, social, and legal sciences, Sweden (

Dr. Teodor Mladenov, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK, ( 

Sofie Adaszak, Doctoral student, Institutionen för hälsovetenskaper, Örebro Universitet, Sweden (