Professor Margaret Alston

Professor Margaret Alston

Professor

School of Humanities and Social Science

Career Summary

Biography

I am Professor of Social Work in the School of Humanities and Social Science. Prior to coming to Newcastle, I was Professor of Social Work and Head of Department at Monash University, where in 2008 I established the Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability (GLASS) research unit. Previously I was at Charles Sturt University for 21 years.

I am a past-Chair of the Australian Heads of Schools of Social Work (ACHSSW) and was appointed a Foundation Fellow of the Australian College of Social Work in 2011. Over many years I have served on a number of high-level university committees. Most recently, Monash's Academic Board, Social Inclusion Board, Faculty Executive Committee, Faculty Board, and School Executive Committee. I was also Chair of  Monash University's Disability Committee.

I have made a significant contribution to social science curriculum development and have written and co-written textbooks, perhaps the best known being Research for Social Workers (with Wendy Bowles). This book is in third edition and has a wide readership in Australia, the US and the UK.

I was awarded an OAM for services to rural women and to social work in 2010. Recent keynote addresses include those given at the Australian Climate conference, July 2016 and the women, agriculture and environment symposium at Penn State University in June 2016.

My main areas of research are gender, climate and environmental disasters, rural women and social work. 

I am currently a CI on an ARC project on social sustainability in the Murray-Darling Basin area and on the ARC Invisible Farmer project with the Victorian Museum to develop awareness of rural women’s contribution to Australian society. 

I am extremely proud of the research undertake by the GLASS research unit at Monash, which  built a broad but critical gender-based research agenda investigating diverse issues such as climate change, violence against women, leadership and social sustainability. Under my direction,  GLASS comprised seven primary researchers and 14 talented PhD students with a passion for gender analysis, social policy and research. As an interdisciplinary unit, the GLASS team brought together a range of academic and professional disciplines including social work, sociology, education, psychology, public health, agriculture, business and architecture.


I completed a study of Rural Women and Leadership, Breaking through the Grass Ceiling, funded by the Australian Research Council and published by Harwood Publishers, UK, in 2000.  Innovative Human Services Practice: Changing Landscapes was published by Pan Macmillan in 2009.  My book, Social Work: Fields of Practice, Oxford University Press is going into third edition in 2018 and Research for Social Workers, Allen & Unwin 4th edition is in preparation for 2018. In 2012 my edited book entitled Research, Action and Policy: Addressing the Gendered Impacts of Climate was published by Springer Books. In 2015-16 my books Women and Climate Change in Bangladesh (Routledge), Women, political struggles and gender equality in South Asia (Pan Macmillan), Ecological Social Work: Towards Sustainability (Pan Macmillan) and Social Science Research Ethics for a Globalizing World: Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Routledge Advances in Research Methods) were published. I am currently preparing a new text, Social Work in Post-Disaster Sites, to be published by Routledge in 2018.

I am currently guest editor for a special edition of Australian Social Work on social work and disasters

I have authored several books that focus on the role of farming women in Australian agriculture, arguing that Australian farming women have been neglected, ignored and silenced in mainstream narratives about rural Australian life and I have urged media, government and researchers to take more notice of what I call the ‘hidden heart of rural Australia’ (1995). 

I was active during the Rural Women’s Movement of the 1980s-1990s and my academic works have directly informed policymakers and encouraged rural women to continue lobbying and networking. I have been involved firsthand with a number of rural women's networks including the Women on Farms Gatherings, the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women, and the Rural Women’s Policy Unit.

I have completed projects on gender and climate change in Bangladesh with Oxfam; with UNESCO in the Pacific in 2010; with ACIAR in Laos; and was engaged as a UN gender expert by the Gender Division of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) studying gender and climate change in India for 2008. I was a resident gender expert at the FAO’s offices in Rome in 2009, 2007 and 2003. In 2009 I was also appointed as a UN gender expert by UN-Habitat to advise on the detailed report on the impact of climate change on global cities. Most recently (2012-13) I worked as a gender expert for UNEP in Geneva training field staff on gender sensitive practice.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of New South Wales

Keywords

  • climate change
  • environmental disaster
  • gender
  • rural women
  • social sustainability
  • violence against women

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
160701 Clinical Social Work Practice 33
160804 Rural Sociology 33
169901 Gender Specific Studies 34

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Professor University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia
Edit

Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Book (7 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Alston M, McCurdy S, McKinnon J, Social Work Fields of Practice, Oxford University Press,, Melbourne, 398 (2018)
2018 Alston M, Bowles W, Research for Social Workers An Introduction to Methods, 528 (2018)
2015 Alston M, Women and climate change in Bangladesh (2015)

© 2015 Margaret Alston. All rights reserved. Bangladesh is by no means a high emitter of carbon, but it is nevertheless one of the countries most critically affected. There is a s... [more]

© 2015 Margaret Alston. All rights reserved. Bangladesh is by no means a high emitter of carbon, but it is nevertheless one of the countries most critically affected. There is a significant risk of damage to lives and livelihoods due to climate change in the form of cyclones, flooding and storm surges, and slow-onset impacts such as droughts, sea level rises and river basin erosion. Moreover, Bangladeshis are especially vulnerable as a high proportion of people live in extreme poverty. This book assesses the impact of climate change in Bangladesh, and presents the findings of a three-year, in-depth study undertaken at village level in different districts of the country. It examines national policies, contrasting them with what is actually happening at village level. It outlines the impact of climate change on livelihood strategies and health, and focuses particularly on the impact on gender relations, showing that although women have a significant role to play in helping communities cope with the effects of climate change, cultural customs and practices often work against this. The book argues for, and puts forward policy proposals for, recognising women's active contribution and supporting gender equality as a critical strategy in global adaptation to climate challenges.

DOI 10.4324/9781315774589
Citations Scopus - 13
2014 Alston M, Women, Political Struggles and Gender Equality in South Asia, Springer, 260 (2014)
2013 Alston M, Whittenbury K, Research, action and policy: Addressing the gendered impacts of climate change (2013)

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013. Research, Action and Policy: Addressing the Gendered Impacts of Climate Change presents the voices of women from every continent,... [more]

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013. Research, Action and Policy: Addressing the Gendered Impacts of Climate Change presents the voices of women from every continent, women who face vastly different climate events and challenges. The book heralds a new way of understanding climate change that incorporates gender justice and human rights for all.

DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-5518-5
Citations Scopus - 22
2003 Alston M, Bowles W, Research for Social Workers An Introduction to Methods, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 334 (2003)
1995 Alston M, Women on the Land The Hidden Heart of Rural Australia, Thomas Telford, 160 (1995)
Show 4 more books

Chapter (59 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Drolet J, Ersing R, Alston MM, Hargreaves D, Huang Y, Huang CH, Mathbor G, 'Rebuilding Lives Post-Disaster. Innovative community practices for sustainable development', The Routledge Handbook of Green Social Work, Routledge, UK (2018)
2018 Alston MM, 'advancing sustainability: developing participatory social policy in the context of environmental disasters', Social Policy First Hand An International Introduction to Participatory Social Welfare, policy press, bristol university (2018)
2017 Alston M, Whittenbury K, 'Bangladesh and Laos women and food security in South Asia', Women in Agriculture Worldwide: Key Issues and Practical Approaches, Routledge, Oxon, UK 79-90 (2017)
DOI 10.4324/9781315546780
2017 Alston M, 'Gendered outcomes in post-disaster sites: Public policy and resource distribution', Climate Change and Gender in Rich Countries: Work, public policy and action 133-149 (2017)
DOI 10.4324/9781315407906
2017 Alston MM, 'the genderness of climate change', gender and rural globalisation: international perspectives on gender and rural development, CABI international, Wallingford, Oxfordshire (2017)
2017 Alston M, 'Gender relations in a rural community', Cultural Sustainability in Rural Communities: Rethinking Australian Country Towns 203-220 (2017)
DOI 10.4324/9781315575384
2016 Alston M, 'Feminism and community development: Illustrating the rural', Contemporary Feminisms in Social Work Practice 98-112 (2016)
DOI 10.4324/9781315774947
2016 Clarke J, Alston M, 'Australia understanding the ¿local¿ and ¿Global¿: Intersections engendering change for women in family farming in Australia', Women in Agriculture Worldwide: Key Issues and Practical Approaches 13-22 (2016)
DOI 10.4324/9781315546780
2016 Nakray K, Alston M, Whittenbury K, 'Social science research ethics an introduction', Social Science Research Ethics for a Globalizing World: Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Perspectives 1-4 (2016)
DOI 10.4324/9781315880020
2016 Alston MM, Hazeleger T, Hargreaves D, 'social work in post-disaster sites', Ecological Social Work Towards Sustainability, Macmillan International Higher Education, london (2016)
2016 Alston MM, mckinnon J, 'introducing ecological social work', Ecological social work: towards sustainability, palgrave macmillan, london (2016)
2016 Clarke J, Alston MM, 'Understanding the local and global: intersections engendering change for women in family farming in australia', Women in Agriculture Worldwide, Gower Publishers, Canada (2016)
2016 Alston MM, 'feminism and rural community development', Contemporary feminisms in rural social work practice, Routledge, UK (2016)
2016 Alston MM, 'Environmental social work', social work and human services best practice, Federation Press, Sydney (2016)
2016 Alston MM, Whittenbury K, Western D, 'rural community sustainability', Ecological social work: towards sustainability, Palgrave macmillan, london (2016)
2016 Alston M, 'Ecosocial work: Reflections from the global south', The Ecosocial Transition of Societies: The Contribution of Social Work and Social Policy 91-104 (2016)
DOI 10.4324/9781315615912
Citations Scopus - 2
2016 Alston MM, Hazeleger T, Hargreaves D, 'social work in post-disaster sites', Ecological Social Work Towards Sustainability, Macmillan International Higher Education, london (2016)
2016 Alston MM, mckinnon J, 'introducing ecological social work', Ecological social work: towards sustainability, palgrave macmillan, london (2016)
2016 Alston MM, Whittenbury K, Western D, 'rural community sustainability', Ecological social work: towards sustainability, Palgrave macmillan, london (2016)
2015 Alston MM, Whittenbury K, Haynes A, 'lessons from the field: outsider research in a cross-cultural gender research', social science research ethics for a globalising world, Routledge, London (2015)
2015 Alston M, 'Rural Social Work', International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition 807-813 (2015)

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.. Rural practice is a critical emerging social work field. While social workers have always worked in rural areas, climate change, environ... [more]

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.. Rural practice is a critical emerging social work field. While social workers have always worked in rural areas, climate change, environmental disasters, and the ongoing impacts of globalization are placing significant stress on rural people and communities, and leading to a new evaluation of the environment and its significance for social work. This article examines rural policies and practices that challenge and disrupt effective social work services into rural communities. It also highlights that rural social workers adopt innovative and creative practice models to deal with isolation and other barriers, thus creating the space for a reimagined and radical social work.

DOI 10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.28081-1
2015 Alston MM, Whittenbury K, Haynes A, 'lessons from the field: outsider research in a cross-cultural gender research', social science research ethics for a globalising world, Routledge, London (2015)
2014 Alston MM, 'Rural policy: shaping women's lives', Rural and Regional Futures, Routledge, london (2014)
2014 Alston MM, 'conclusion women in south asia', Women political struggles and gender equality in south asia, palgrave macmillan, london (2014)
2014 Alston MM, 'Introduction: women in south asia', Women, political struggles and gender equality in south asia, palsgrave macmillan, London (2014)
2014 Alston MM, 'conclusion women in south asia', Women political struggles and gender equality in south asia, palgrave macmillan, london (2014)
2014 Alston MM, 'Introduction: women in south asia', Women, political struggles and gender equality in south asia, palsgrave macmillan, London (2014)
2013 Alston M, 'Gender-based violence in post-disaster recovery situations: An emerging public health issue', Gender-based Violence and Public Health: International perspectives on budgets and policies 95-107 (2013)
DOI 10.4324/9780203077344
2013 Alston M, 'Introducing gender and climate change: Research, policy and action', Research, Action and Policy: Addressing the Gendered Impacts of Climate Change 3-14 (2013)

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013. In the context of a potentially global climate crisis, does gender matter? This book sets out to answer this question, drawing to... [more]

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013. In the context of a potentially global climate crisis, does gender matter? This book sets out to answer this question, drawing together research from across the globe to demonstrate that in areas as diverse as Australia, Canada, Africa, Asia and Europe, there is emerging evidence that gender does matter. It matters because the experiences of women and men during and after times of climate crisis are different ¿ a difference based on cultural norms and practices, on work roles and access to resources, on safety and security and on different levels of vulnerability resulting from a combination of these factors.We are pleased to present this book, a product of our Gender and Climate Change conference held in Prato, Italy, in 2011. This conference was organized and auspiced by the Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability (GLASS) research unit at Monash University, Australia. The focus of the book is on research, policy and action ¿ what we know, what we need to know, how we might formally respond in order that support for the most vulnerable is forthcoming and that actions taken are transparent and focused on increasing the resilience of all affected by climate change.

DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-5518-5_1
Citations Scopus - 8
2013 Alston M, 'Gender and climate change in Australia and the Pacific', Research, Action and Policy: Addressing the Gendered Impacts of Climate Change 175-188 (2013)

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013. Climate change has emerged as one of the most significant global threats of the twenty-first century. Characterised by both incre... [more]

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013. Climate change has emerged as one of the most significant global threats of the twenty-first century. Characterised by both incremental events such as drought and desertification, and catastrophic events such as floods, bushfires and cyclones, climate change has resulted in major social, economic and environmental consequences. To date attention has focused largely in the science of climate change and the economic consequences of declining or eroded resources. Inadequate attention to social consequences is having significant impacts on vulnerable populations. The gendered consequences of these events have only recently emerged as a major factor of international concern. This paper presents findings from work undertaken in the Murray-Darling Basin area of Australia where drought and declining water availability has had significant social and gendered consequences. It also presents findings from work underway in the Pacific regionwhere sea level rises, temperature changes and declining infrastructure and productivity is having major social impacts and exacerbating and changing existing gender inequalities. The paper notes that in both developed and developing nations, in areas of incremental and catastrophic climate events, gender is a major factor in vulnerability, resilience and adaptation. It notes the need for gender to be a significant feature of policy and planning in relation to climate events.

DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-5518-5_13
Citations Scopus - 3
2013 Alston MM, Harms L, 'psychosocial responses to disasters', Social Work: Contexts and Practice, 3e, OUP Australia & New Zealand, Melbourne x-x (2013)
2013 Alston MM, 'Social work providing health care to people, families and communities', Understanding the Australian Health Care System, Elsevier Health Sciences, sydney (2013)
2013 Alston MM, 'social work in the context of climate change and disasters', social work: contexts and practice, Oxford university press, Melbourne (2013)
2012 Alston M, Besthorn FH, 'Environment and sustainability', The SAGE Handbook of International Social Work 56-69 (2012)
DOI 10.4135/9781446247594.n3
Citations Scopus - 11
2012 Alston MM, 'addressing the effects of climate change on rural communities', social work in rural Australia: enabling practice, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest (2012)
2011 Allan J, Ball P, Alston M, 'The impact of policy processes on children's access to healthcare in rural Australia', Rural Child Health: International Aspects 35-46 (2011)

Children are deserving targets of healthcare policy. However, to make a difference to children's lives, health and welfare policy goals have to be translated into services. F... [more]

Children are deserving targets of healthcare policy. However, to make a difference to children's lives, health and welfare policy goals have to be translated into services. For children and families living in small Australian rural communities, access to assistance and support from health services is dependent on the administrative and technical detail of health policy. This paper reports the findings of a case study investigating health care in two small rural towns in New South Wales. The study takes a pragmatic and practical approach to identifying the impact of policy intent on improving the health of rural children. The study identified the way policy goals are translated into practice by interviewing three distinct groups; policy makers, policy implementers and policy recipients. The research found that health policy was not well costed, implemented or available to children who lived outside regional or metropolitan areas. There were limited avenues for children, parents or health workers to influence the policy development or implementation process. © 2010 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

2010 Alston M, 'working with communities', Social Work Contexts and Practice, oxford university press, Melbourne (2010)
2010 Alston M, 'australia's rural welfare policy: overlooked and demoralised', welfare reform in rural places, Emerald group publishing, UK (2010)
2010 Alston MM, 'gender and climate change', Climate change in regional australia: social learning and adaptation, Victorian Universities Regional Universities Network Press, Melbourne (2010)
2009 Alston M, 'Health and the environment', Social Work and Global Health Inequalities: Practice and Policy Developments 51-62 (2009)
2007 Alston M, 'Maintaining vibrant rural communities', Redesigning Animal Agriculture: The Challenge of the 21st Century 18-29 (2007)

Agricultural productivity has trebled in Australia over the last 50 years, suggesting that all is well in the heartland of agriculture - the inland rural communities around which ... [more]

Agricultural productivity has trebled in Australia over the last 50 years, suggesting that all is well in the heartland of agriculture - the inland rural communities around which much of our production is based. None the less in this chapter I sound a note of warning, arguing that an over-reliance on economic parameters as the only indicator of success will inevitably compromise the industry. Social sustainability is critically important to an industry that relies so heavily on farm families. Yet access to education, employment, health and welfare service and transport and telecommunications infrastructure is reducing the attractiveness of rural areas. Sustaining families and attracting young people into the industry are vital to its survival. In this chapter I introduce the notion of multifunctionality, a concept in favour outside Australia, as a way of valuing rural areas beyond their productive capacity. Thus when we assess the amenity, heritage and cultural value of rural areas we move beyond the notion of economics as determinant. The concept opens up the need for wider investment in human, institutional, environmental and social capital as ways of revitalizing rural communities and of ultimately ensuring the future viability of agriculture. © CAB International 2007. All rights reserved.

2007 Alston MM, 'collaborative health care practice within the rural context', healthcare practice and policy in australia, Oxford university press, sydney (2007)
2006 Alston M, 'The gendered impact of drought', Rural Gender Relations: Issues and Case Studies 165-180 (2006)
Citations Scopus - 14
2006 Alston MM, Bock B, Shortall S, 'the impact of drought on gender and power differentials in australian farm families', Rural gender relations: Issues and Case Studies, CABI publishing, Oxfordshire (2006)
2006 Alston MM, 'gender dimensions of water management', Fluid Bonds: views and gender and water, Street, Calcutta (2006)
2005 Alston M, McKinnon J, 'the context of contemporary social work practice', Social work fields of practice, Oxford University Press, Melbourne (2005)
2005 Alston MM, 'working with women', Social Work fields of Practice, Oxford University Press, Melbourne (2005)
2005 Alston MM, 'drought and social exclusion', participation and governance in regional development, Ashgate, Sydney (2005)
2005 Alston M, McKinnon J, 'the context of contemporary social work practice', Social work fields of practice, Oxford University Press, Melbourne (2005)
2005 Alston MM, 'working with women', Social Work fields of Practice, Oxford University Press, Melbourne (2005)
2004 Alston MM, 'social exclusion in rural areas', sustainability and change in rural Australia, UNSW Press, Sydney (2004)
2004 Alston MM, 'gender issues in rural areas', Sustainability and change in rural Australia, UNSW Press, Sydney (2004)
2003 Alston MM, 'gender dimensions of the triple bottom line', Social Dimensions of the triple bottom line in Rural Australia, Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra (2003)
2003 Wilkinson J, Gray I, Alston MM, 'Tumbarumba a case study', Community Sustainability: A question of capital, Centre for Rural Social Research, CSU, Wagga Wagga (2003)
2003 Wilkinson J, Gray I, Alston MM, 'Tumbarumba a case study', Community Sustainability: A question of capital, Centre for Rural Social Research, CSU, Wagga Wagga (2003)
1997 Alston MM, 'sociocultural factors and family farming', A legacy under threat: family farming in Australia, Rural Development Centre, UNE (1997)
1996 Alston MM, 'Backs to the Wall: rural women make formidable activists', Social change in Rural Australia, Rural Social and Economic Research Centre,, UCQ Rockhampton (1996)
1994 Alston MM, 'Farm women and feminism', Country women at the crossroads, UNE, Armidale (1994)
1994 Alston MM, 'women and the rural crisis', Country women at the crossroads, UNE, Armidale (1994)
Show 56 more chapters

Journal article (67 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Harms L, Alston M, 'Postdisaster Social Work', Australian Social Work, 71 386-391 (2018)
DOI 10.1080/0312407X.2018.1495241
2018 Alston M, Clarke J, Whittenbury K, 'Limits to adaptation: Reducing irrigation water in the Murray-Darling Basin dairy communities', JOURNAL OF RURAL STUDIES, 58 93-102 (2018)
DOI 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.12.026
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2
2018 Drolet J, Ersing R, Dominelli L, Alston M, Mathbor G, Huang Y, Wu H, 'Rebuilding Lives and Communities Postdisaster: A Case Study on Migrant Workers and Diversity in the USA', Australian Social Work, 71 444-456 (2018)

© 2018, © 2018 Australian Association of Social Workers. There is a need to better understand long-term disaster recovery and reconstruction challenges in diverse communities. Thi... [more]

© 2018, © 2018 Australian Association of Social Workers. There is a need to better understand long-term disaster recovery and reconstruction challenges in diverse communities. This case study was part of a larger study undertaken by the Rebuilding Lives Post-Disaster research partnership, where field research was conducted in disaster-affected communities in Canada, the USA, Australia, India, Pakistan, and Taiwan. The objective of this exploratory case study was to focus on experiences of affected migrant workers from diverse communities in Florida, USA, in relation to long-term disaster recovery and reconstruction work following hurricanes, to ensure that lessons learned from these experiences could inform best practices and policy. The study focused particularly on the role of community processes and dynamics in shaping postdisaster recovery. Qualitative research explored diverse experiences of participants through interviews with government officials, community leaders, and disaster responders. The study found that migrant workers faced challenges due to the lack of consideration with regard to immigration status, linguistic, and cultural needs in disaster recovery. IMPLICATIONS Disaster recovery processes need to consider the diversity of affected populations to ensure assistance and responses meet the differing needs of all community members in postdisaster recovery. All members of diverse communities should be included in disaster response and longer-term recovery efforts. Social workers can assist in ensuring that diversity is a consideration in disaster and emergency management.

DOI 10.1080/0312407X.2018.1487460
Citations Scopus - 1
2018 Alston M, Hargreaves D, Hazeleger T, 'Postdisaster Social Work: Reflections on the Nature of Place and Loss', Australian Social Work, 71 405-416 (2018)

© 2018, © 2018 Australian Association of Social Workers. In this paper we examine the nature of loss in the context of environmental disasters. When the places people call home ar... [more]

© 2018, © 2018 Australian Association of Social Workers. In this paper we examine the nature of loss in the context of environmental disasters. When the places people call home are irrevocably changed by disasters, people experience a profound sense of loss¿loss that includes both tangible and intangible elements. Tangible aspects of loss include the loss of homes and infrastructure. Intangible losses are less evident but are associated with a loss of identity, of social cohesion, of belonging and community, and of health and wellbeing that are so integrally linked to one¿s place. Social work academics across the world are developing environmental and ecological theories for practice that signal the need for social workers to be more engaged with the physical environment and the significance of place. Drawing on research conducted following the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, we highlight the nature of loss in the context of damaged ¿places¿. IMPLICATIONS Social workers and others involved in disaster recovery need to be aware of both tangible and intangible losses and their impact on post-traumatic stress and growth. In the immediate postdisaster period, tangible losses such as homes and infrastructure are often the focus of disaster recovery efforts. Intangible losses of identity, community, and a sense of place and belonging may be of equal or greater significance than tangible losses for those affected by disasters.

DOI 10.1080/0312407X.2017.1409776
Citations Scopus - 1
2018 Alston M, Clarke J, Whittenbury K, 'Contemporary feminist analysis of Australian farm women in the context of climate changes', Social Sciences, 7 (2018)

© 2018 by the authors. Climate changes are reshaping agricultural production and food security across the world. One result is that women in both the developed and developing worl... [more]

© 2018 by the authors. Climate changes are reshaping agricultural production and food security across the world. One result is that women in both the developed and developing world are increasingly being drawn into agricultural labour. Yet, because the labour of women has historically been marginalised and ignored, these changes remain largely unacknowledged. In this paper, we examine gender changes in agricultural labour allocations on Australian irrigated dairy farms impacted by climate-related reductions in water available for irrigation. In the Murray-Darling Basin area of Australia, long years of drought and the need to address ecological degradation have led to the introduction of water saving methods and these have had major impacts at the farm level. We present research indicating that a major outcome has been an increase in women's labour on- and off-farms. Yet, the lack of attention to gendered labour distribution continues the historical neglect of women's labour, maintains patriarchal relations in agriculture, significantly impacts women's views of themselves as agricultural outsiders, and reduces attention to a gendered analysis of climate change outcomes. We argue that gender mainstreaming of climate and agricultural policies is long overdue.

DOI 10.3390/socsci7020016
2017 Alston M, Clarke J, Whittenbury K, 'Gender Relations, Livelihood Strategies, Water Policies and Structural Adjustment in the Australian Dairy Industry', SOCIOLOGIA RURALIS, 57 752-768 (2017)
DOI 10.1111/soru.12164
Citations Scopus - 3
2016 Alston M, Whittenbury K, Western D, Gosling A, 'Water policy, trust and governance in the Murray-Darling Basin', Australian Geographer, 47 49-64 (2016)

© 2015 Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc. Concerns for river health in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) area and shifting priorities for water use have led to a significan... [more]

© 2015 Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc. Concerns for river health in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) area and shifting priorities for water use have led to a significant process of water reform over the last decade. The MDB area, also known as the food bowl of Australia, produces much of the country's food and is home to a significant portion of the population. A long-term drought, historical over-allocation of water for irrigation and climate variability have led to mounting concerns about the long-term viability of the rivers. While the reform process has resulted in the Commonwealth government taking control of the rivers from the States, it has also been influenced by changes in governments and consequent shifts in water allocation priorities from a privileging of agriculture to a broader approach encompassing economic, environmental and social concerns. This had led to uncertainty for the people and communities in the Basin and some confusion between the various layers of governance structures. This paper presents the results of exploratory research conducted with key, high-level stakeholders involved in water reform to examine their perceptions of the evolving water policy process. Despite agreement amongst stakeholders that returning water to the environment to ensure river health is critical, our research reveals significant tensions between stakeholders concerning the evolving process, particularly centred on the potential social outcomes and fairness and equity. This suggests the need for more integrated and transparent governance structures, attention to levels of trust between partners and a common vision that incorporates environmental, economic and social goals.

DOI 10.1080/00049182.2015.1091056
Citations Scopus - 11Web of Science - 7
2016 Alston M, Akhter B, 'Gender and food security in Bangladesh: the impact of climate change', Gender, Place and Culture, 23 1450-1464 (2016)

© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Food security remains a critical global issue, made more difficult because of the rising world population, clim... [more]

© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Food security remains a critical global issue, made more difficult because of the rising world population, climate challenges affecting food production and a focus on market-based solutions that undermine subsistence production in vulnerable rural areas. Particularly affected are countries across Asia where poverty, hunger and malnourishment affect a significant proportion of the population. Drawing on Sen¿s entitlement theory, we argue that a shift in focus from national food production to intra-household food access enables a critical reflection on consumption smoothing strategies adopted at this level. In particular, we draw attention to the tendency for women and girls to eat less as an intra-household adaptation strategy. We present findings from our research in rural areas of Bangladesh and note that adaptation strategies adopted by households in response to food insecurity. We note that strategies designed to address food insecurity must include gender mainstreaming to ensure that women and girls are not taking a disproportionate responsibility for intra-household food security.

DOI 10.1080/0966369X.2016.1204997
Citations Scopus - 1
2016 Shortall S, Alston M, 'To Rural Proof or Not to Rural Proof: A Comparative Analysis', Politics and Policy, 44 35-55 (2016)

© 2016 Policy Studies Organization. Rural mainstreaming reviews policies to ensure people in all parts of a country receive comparable policy treatment. Rural proofing is the meth... [more]

© 2016 Policy Studies Organization. Rural mainstreaming reviews policies to ensure people in all parts of a country receive comparable policy treatment. Rural proofing is the method used to ensure that rural mainstreaming is correctly carried out. This article offers a critical analysis of rural proofing. It examines English policies in this area and questions how applicable similar policies might be in an Australian context. We argue that while rural proofing intuitively feels like a positive development for a country rich in rural and remote areas, there are many complexities to importing a policy designed for a different social and spatial context. In Australia, this is almost certain to render attempts to implement the English rural proofing concept futile. Indeed, we contend that this concept can potentially lead to the marginalization of rural issues. We conclude by identifying some of the complex questions our argument identifies which should be addressed by Australian policy makers before designing specific policies.

DOI 10.1111/polp.12144
Citations Scopus - 3
2016 Alston MM, 'Rural social work in australia', Encyclopaedia of social work, (2016)
DOI 10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.1167
2015 Alston M, 'Social Work and AJSI', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL ISSUES, 50 37-51 (2015)
DOI 10.1002/j.1839-4655.2015.tb00333.x
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
2015 Alston M, 'Social work, climate change and global cooperation', International Social Work, 58 355-363 (2015)

© The Author(s) 2014 Climate change and environmental disasters are destabilising communities across the world. In a challenging address to the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP... [more]

© The Author(s) 2014 Climate change and environmental disasters are destabilising communities across the world. In a challenging address to the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Doha in 2012, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon urged the global community to respond with conscientious foresight. This article discusses how social work might respond to this challenge. It outlines the social implications, social work theorists¿ reconceptualisation of the environmental space as a domain of practice and ways that the global social work community can act to address these significant global challenges.

DOI 10.1177/0020872814556824
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 3
2015 Drolet J, Dominelli L, Alston M, Ersing R, Mathbor G, Wu H, 'Women rebuilding lives post-disaster: Innovative community practices for building resilience and promoting sustainable development', Gender and Development, 23 433-448 (2015)

© 2015 The Author(s). Disasters result in devastating human, economic, and environmental effects. The paper highlights women¿s active participation in community-based disaster rec... [more]

© 2015 The Author(s). Disasters result in devastating human, economic, and environmental effects. The paper highlights women¿s active participation in community-based disaster recovery efforts drawing from the results of the ¿Rebuilding Lives Post-disaster: Innovative Community Practices for Sustainable Development¿ by an international research partnership. Two case studies are presented from Pakistan and the USA to demonstrate how women contribute to building resilience and promoting sustainable development in diverse post-disaster contexts. The policy and practice implications are relevant for discussions regarding the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and framework.

DOI 10.1080/13552074.2015.1096040
Citations Scopus - 13
2014 Flynn C, Alston M, Mason R, 'Trafficking in women for sexual exploitation: Building Australian knowledge', International Social Work, 57 27-38 (2014)

This article examines the current knowledge shaping our understanding of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation in Australia, a major destination country in a p... [more]

This article examines the current knowledge shaping our understanding of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation in Australia, a major destination country in a poorly researched region (Oceania). Challenges to developing accurate and useful knowledge: varied and poorly understood definitions, difficulties in gathering accurate data about a hidden problem, and narrowly focused research are explored. The article describes Australia's current responses to sex trafficking and critiques current knowledge development strategies, concluding with recommendations for ways forward in researching this challenging and globally significant problem. © The Author(s) 2012.

DOI 10.1177/0020872812452442
Citations Scopus - 9Web of Science - 5
2014 Alston M, Whittenbury K, Haynes A, Godden N, 'Are climate challenges reinforcing child and forced marriage and dowry as adaptation strategies in the context of Bangladesh?', Women's Studies International Forum, 47 137-144 (2014)

© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. This paper outlines the link between child and forced marriage, dowry and climate changes in Bangladesh. Drawing on a three year research study on the gendere... [more]

© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. This paper outlines the link between child and forced marriage, dowry and climate changes in Bangladesh. Drawing on a three year research study on the gendered impacts of climate change, we argue that climate crises are creating significant economic hardships. This has led to dowry being viewed by the families of young men as a form of capital accumulation. For the families of girls, dowry has become a significant burden, a burden that increases with the age of the girl. We argue that the economic crises created by climate challenges are leading to an increase in child and forced marriages because the dowry is cheaper. We conclude that attention to climate challenges must take a much broader focus on social consequences in order to protect the human rights of women and girls in vulnerable communities.

DOI 10.1016/j.wsif.2014.08.005
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 3
2014 Alston M, 'Gender mainstreaming and climate change', Women's Studies International Forum, 47 287-294 (2014)

© 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Gender mainstreaming refers to the process of incorporating a gender perspective to any action, policy, legislation or action in order to ensure that the conc... [more]

© 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Gender mainstreaming refers to the process of incorporating a gender perspective to any action, policy, legislation or action in order to ensure that the concerns of all are addressed and that gender inequalities are not perpetuated through institutional means. However the implementation of gender mainstreaming across the globe has not necessarily resulted in advances for women, as it is usually associated with a winding back of women-focused policies and programs. Emerging research indicates that climate change has significant gendered impacts and yet policies and practices designed to address and shape mitigation and adaptation strategies have failed to incorporate gender mainstreaming. Further the scientific and technological focus of many of these institutional responses has led to a lack of attention to social outcomes more generally. This has resulted in a lack of attention to the vulnerable groups, including women. This paper outlines an argument not only for gender mainstreaming of climate policy but also for policy focused specifically on women's empowerment. Gender mainstreaming is essential in ensuring that not only climate policies and programs are comprehensive, but so too are women-focused policies designed to ensure that women are supported and empowered to take action on their own behalf.

DOI 10.1016/j.wsif.2013.01.016
Citations Scopus - 29Web of Science - 19
2014 Alston M, Whittenbury K, 'Social impacts of reduced water availability in australia's murray darling basin: Adaptation or maladaptation', International Journal of Water, 8 34-47 (2014)

This paper outlines water reform policy in Australia's Murray-Darling Basin area. Drawing on research with key informants and farm family members, it notes the signifi cant s... [more]

This paper outlines water reform policy in Australia's Murray-Darling Basin area. Drawing on research with key informants and farm family members, it notes the signifi cant social impacts in the communities in the region and the limits to adaptation evident amongst people in these areas. It outlines the vulnerability of individuals and communities and notes the need for actions to build resilience and to enable transformation in these areas. With this in mind, policy strategies are outlined that may assist long-term social sustainability in this region. Copyright © 2014 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

DOI 10.1504/IJW.2014.057777
Citations Scopus - 2
2013 Alston M, 'Environmental Social Work: Accounting for Gender in Climate Disasters', Australian Social Work, 66 218-233 (2013)

The person-in-the-environment concept has largely been interpreted by social workers to indicate social networks and relationships, ignoring the physical environment and its compl... [more]

The person-in-the-environment concept has largely been interpreted by social workers to indicate social networks and relationships, ignoring the physical environment and its complex impact on human health and wellbeing. This article examines the environmental domain, noting the critical role social workers can have in this field as a consequence of climate events and global warming. The article notes the significance of gender as a key factor in vulnerability to disasters and outlines the need for social workers to consider gender as a critical indicator in their work in this emerging area. Embodiment, connection to place, poverty, and cultural awareness are also significant, but often overlooked, factors in a social work response to environmental disasters. Ecological and ecofeminist theories give a direction for social work theory and practice in the postdisaster space. The article challenges social workers to reconsider the person-in-the-environment as a complex and critical emerging domain of social work theories and practice, a domain where gender awareness is fundamental. © 2013 Copyright Australian Association of Social Workers.

DOI 10.1080/0312407X.2012.738366
Citations Scopus - 20Web of Science - 18
2013 Alston M, Whittenbury K, 'Does climatic crisis in Australia's food bowl create a basis for change in agricultural gender relations?', Agriculture and Human Values, 30 115-128 (2013)

An ongoing crisis in Australian agriculture resulting from climate crises including drought, decreasing irrigation water, more recent catastrophic flooding, and an uncertain polic... [more]

An ongoing crisis in Australian agriculture resulting from climate crises including drought, decreasing irrigation water, more recent catastrophic flooding, and an uncertain policy environment is reshaping gender relations in the intimate sphere of the farm family. Drawing on research conducted in the Murray-Darling Basin area of Australia we ask the question: Does extreme hardship/climate crises change highly inequitable gender relations in agriculture? As farm income declines, Australian farm women are more likely to be working off farm for critical family income while men continue to work on farm often in circumstances of damaged landscapes, rising debt, and limited production. This paper examines the way gender relations are being renegotiated in a time of significant climate crisis. Our research suggests that climate crises have indeed led to changes in gender relations and that some changes are unexpected. Whereas one would logically assume that women's enhanced economic contribution would increase their power in gender negotiations, we argue that this does not necessarily occur because their contribution is viewed as a farm survival strategy. Men are committed to prioritizing the farm and view women's income generating work as critical to this purpose and yet, paradoxically, long for a return to traditional farm roles. We find that women are actively resisting traditional gender relations by reshaping a role for themselves beyond the farm-in the process moving physically and mentally away from a farm family ideology, questioning gender inequalities, and by extension their relationships. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

DOI 10.1007/s10460-012-9382-x
Citations Scopus - 17Web of Science - 13
2013 Alston M, 'Women and adaptation', Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 4 351-358 (2013)

This article addresses the uneven impacts of climate change on women. To date, there has been a significant emphasis on climate science and technological solutions to aid mitigati... [more]

This article addresses the uneven impacts of climate change on women. To date, there has been a significant emphasis on climate science and technological solutions to aid mitigation and adaptation strategies. This has led to a form of global managerialism that presupposes that all people can adapt with the right resources and knowledge. In this article, it is argued that the differential impacts of climate change on women demand that climate actions and strategies require gender sensitivity and that further research on climate change, adaptations, and actions includes a gendered analysis. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

DOI 10.1002/wcc.232
Citations Scopus - 14Web of Science - 14
2013 Joshi C, Russell G, Cheng IH, Kay M, Pottie K, Alston M, et al., 'A narrative synthesis of the impact of primary health care delivery models for refugees in resettlement countries on access, quality and coordination', International Journal for Equity in Health, 12 (2013)

Introduction. Refugees have many complex health care needs which should be addressed by the primary health care services, both on their arrival in resettlement countries and in th... [more]

Introduction. Refugees have many complex health care needs which should be addressed by the primary health care services, both on their arrival in resettlement countries and in their transition to long-term care. The aim of this narrative synthesis is to identify the components of primary health care service delivery models for such populations which have been effective in improving access, quality and coordination of care. Methods. A systematic review of the literature, including published systematic reviews, was undertaken. Studies between 1990 and 2011 were identified by searching Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Australian Public Affairs Information Service-Health, Health and Society Database, Multicultural Australian and Immigration Studies and Google Scholar. A limited snowballing search of the reference lists of all included studies was also undertaken. A stakeholder advisory committee and international advisers provided papers from grey literature. Only English language studies of evaluated primary health care models of care for refugees in developed countries of resettlement were included. Results: Twenty-five studies met the inclusion criteria for this review of which 15 were Australian and 10 overseas models. These could be categorised into six themes: service context, clinical model, workforce capacity, cost to clients, health and non-health services. Access was improved by multidisciplinary staff, use of interpreters and bilingual staff, no-cost or low-cost services, outreach services, free transport to and from appointments, longer clinic opening hours, patient advocacy, and use of gender-concordant providers. These services were affordable, appropriate and acceptable to the target groups. Coordination between the different health care services and services responding to the social needs of clients was improved through case management by specialist workers. Quality of care was improved by training in cultural sensitivity and appropriate use of interpreters. Conclusion: The elements of models most frequently associated with improved access, coordination and quality of care were case management, use of specialist refugee health workers, interpreters and bilingual staff. These findings have implications for workforce planning and training. © 2013 Joshi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

DOI 10.1186/1475-9276-12-88
Citations Scopus - 28Web of Science - 20
2012 Alston M, 'Rural male suicide in Australia', Social Science and Medicine, 74 515-522 (2012)

The rate of suicide amongst Australia's rural men is significantly higher than rural women, urban men or urban women. There are many explanations for this phenomenon includin... [more]

The rate of suicide amongst Australia's rural men is significantly higher than rural women, urban men or urban women. There are many explanations for this phenomenon including higher levels of social isolation, lower socio-economic circumstances and ready access to firearms. Another factor is the challenge of climate transformation for farmers. In recent times rural areas of Australia have been subject to intense climate change events including a significant drought that has lingered on for over a decade. Climate variability together with lower socio-economic conditions and reduced farm production has combined to produce insidious impacts on the health of rural men. This paper draws on research conducted over several years with rural men working on farms to argue that attention to the health and well-being of rural men requires an understanding not only of these factors but also of the cultural context, inequitable gender relations and a dominant form of masculine hegemony that lauds stoicism in the face of adversity. A failure to address these factors will limit the success of health and welfare programs for rural men. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.04.036
Citations Scopus - 82Web of Science - 74
2012 Alston M, Jones J, Curtin M, 'Women and Traumatic Brain Injury: "It's not visible damage"', Australian Social Work, 65 39-53 (2012)

With advances in medical technology, more people are surviving major trauma experiences. Those with a traumatic brain injury are one such group who may survive for several decades... [more]

With advances in medical technology, more people are surviving major trauma experiences. Those with a traumatic brain injury are one such group who may survive for several decades with significant health consequences including physical, cognitive, and psychosocial sequelae. Traumatic brain injury sufferers are typically young males with a premorbid history of risk taking. Consequently, the differential needs of female traumatic brain injury survivors are less likely to be acknowledged in the literature or by allied health workers. A large quantitative and qualitative study of people with traumatic brain injury was conducted in rural areas of New South Wales, Australia in 2004-2005. The qualitative component of the study included in-depth interviews with 11 women and 21 men. This paper focuses on the interviews with the 11 women who live in two rural areas of New South Wales. These data illustrate the psychosocial consequences of traumatic brain injury for women. They reveal that women are particularly vulnerable to isolation, disempowerment, and in extreme cases, abuse, and are less likely to have a carer. The need for gender to be a factor in ongoing social work and allied health treatment and support of traumatic brain injury sufferers and their carers is evident from this research. © 2012 Australian Association of Social Workers.

DOI 10.1080/0312407X.2011.594898
Citations Scopus - 12Web of Science - 11
2012 Allan J, Clifford A, Ball P, Alston M, Meister P, ''You're less complete if you haven't got a can in your hand': Alcohol consumption and related harmful effects in rural Australia: The role and influence of cultural capital', Alcohol and Alcoholism, 47 624-629 (2012)

Aims: This study aimed to explore rural Australians' perceptions of social and cultural factors influencing alcohol use in their communities. Methods: Semi-structured intervi... [more]

Aims: This study aimed to explore rural Australians' perceptions of social and cultural factors influencing alcohol use in their communities. Methods: Semi-structured interviews exploring rural community key informants' (n = 46) perceptions of social and cultural factors influencing alcohol consumption in their community were conducted. A narrative analysis identified cultural capital as a salient concept for explaining how rural community life is created and sustained via drinking practices. Results: Themes relating to participants' accounts of learning to drink, normal drinking; exclusion because of not drinking and problematic drinkers are described. Conclusion: In rural communities, beliefs and values about drinking as a positive social practice are transmitted, rewarded and reproduced across multiple groups and settings, reinforcing that drinking is an integral part of Australian rural culture. Drinking is so important that engaging in drinking practices creates and sustains cultural capital. As a result, alcohol-related harm is of little concern to rural dwellers. © The Author 2012. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1093/alcalc/ags074
Citations Scopus - 19Web of Science - 18
2011 Curtin M, Jones J, Tyson GA, Mitsch V, Alston M, McAllister L, 'Outcomes of participation objective, participation subjective (POPS) measure following traumatic brain injury', Brain Injury, 25 266-273 (2011)

Primary objective: To investigate the participation of adults living with traumatic brain injury in regional and rural NSW as measured by the Participation Objective Participation... [more]

Primary objective: To investigate the participation of adults living with traumatic brain injury in regional and rural NSW as measured by the Participation Objective Participation Subjective (POPS) measure. Research design: A quantitative survey of a single cohort as the first of a two phase mixed methods study. Methods and procedures: One hundred and thirty-one adults with a TBI were recruited through eight rural brain injury rehabilitation programmes in NSW. These adults completed a range of survey instruments, including the POPS. Main outcomes and results: The POPS measure supported findings from other research that identified varying impacts of TBI. However, in contrast to other studies, there was no correlation between participation scores and age, gender, time since injury and severity of injury. Conclusions: The findings from this study suggest that the issue of participation of adults with TBI living in non-metropolitan areas needs to be further researched. © 2011 Informa UK Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.3109/02699052.2010.542793
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 4
2011 Alston M, Whittenbury K, 'Climate change and water policy in Australia's irrigation areas: A lost opportunity for a partnership model of governance', Environmental Politics, 20 899-917 (2011)

That climate change mitigation strategies may disproportionately affect rural people and communities is evidenced by the introduction of water mitigation policies in Australia. Th... [more]

That climate change mitigation strategies may disproportionately affect rural people and communities is evidenced by the introduction of water mitigation policies in Australia. The significant consequences of water policy for irrigation farming families and communities in Australia's Murray-Darling Basin - the food bowl of Australia - are outlined. This policy emerges from a hierarchical model of governance and has resulted in uneven and perverse outcomes for people in rural areas. Lack of attention to metagovernance and a misplaced trust in the water market has left rural people and communities vulnerable to significant stress and disaffection, impacting on their resilience and adaptability to change. A partnership model of governance is suggested to guide climate change mitigation policies to ensure that the capacity of rural people and communities to adapt to significant change is enhanced rather than eroded. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

DOI 10.1080/09644016.2011.617175
Citations Scopus - 21Web of Science - 16
2011 Alston M, 'Gender and climate change in Australia', Journal of Sociology, 47 53-70 (2011)

Debate continues to rage as to the veracity of evidence around the permanence of climate change. There is no doubt that changes are occurring across the world and that these chang... [more]

Debate continues to rage as to the veracity of evidence around the permanence of climate change. There is no doubt that changes are occurring across the world and that these changes are causing significant social hardship, including food and water insecurity and large-scale movements of people. What is also emerging in research across the world is that these social impacts and adaptations are highly gendered. This article draws on several years of research on the Australian drought and more recent research on declining water availability in the Murray-Darling Basin of Australia. It notes the significant social impacts, particularly in remote and irrigation areas, and draws out the gendered impacts of these changes. The article argues for more sensitive rights-based social policy to address people who are under extraordinary stress during times of unparalleled change. © 2010 The Australian Sociological Association.

DOI 10.1177/1440783310376848
Citations Scopus - 53Web of Science - 41
2011 Dietsch E, Martin T, Shackleton P, Davies C, McLeod M, Alston M, 'Australian Aboriginal kinship: A means to enhance maternal well-being', Women and Birth, 24 58-64 (2011)

Background: The relocation of women from their rural communities to birth in a centralised hospital is becoming increasingly common as maternity units close in rural areas of Aust... [more]

Background: The relocation of women from their rural communities to birth in a centralised hospital is becoming increasingly common as maternity units close in rural areas of Australia. The significance for Aboriginal women when they are denied the support of kin around the time of birth but have that support re-established postnatally is explored. Methods: This paper gathered data from multiple sources including in-depth interviews with three Aboriginal mothers and one partner; observational field notes; and during debriefing, the knowledge and experience of an Aboriginal midwife. Thematic analysis was utilised to both explore and critique the collected data. Findings and discussion: Aboriginal women are particularly disadvantaged by maternity unit closures in rural areas of the south eastern Australian state of New South Wales (NSW). However, contrary to the expectation that this would result in postnatal mental health problems, the support the Aboriginal participants in this study received from kin may have had a mediating effect which enhanced their well-being and possibly prevented mental ill health. Recommendations: Recommendations relate to strategies and policies that have the potential to increase community governance and feelings of cultural safety for Aboriginal childbearing women living in rural areas. Conclusion: While the practice of forcing Aboriginal women to relocate around the time of birth has a negative impact on perinatal health outcomes, kinship support may be a mediating factor. © 2010 Australian College of Midwives.

DOI 10.1016/j.wombi.2010.06.003
Citations Scopus - 12Web of Science - 25
2010 Sachs C, Alston M, 'Global shifts, sedimentations, and imaginaries: An introduction to the special issue on women and agriculture', Signs, 35 277-287 (2010)
DOI 10.1086/605618
Citations Scopus - 27Web of Science - 19
2010 Allan J, Ball P, Alston M, 'What is health anyway? Perceptions and experiences of health and health care from socio-economically disadvantaged rural residents', Rural Society, 20 85-97 (2010)

The divide between rich and poor in Australia is starkly apparent in health status statistics; the poorest Australians have the poorest health, and many live in rural Australia. H... [more]

The divide between rich and poor in Australia is starkly apparent in health status statistics; the poorest Australians have the poorest health, and many live in rural Australia. However, little is known about financially deprived rural citizen¿s perceptions of their own health and their expectations of health care services. As a result, exploratory in-depth interviews were conducted with eleven rural residents dependent upon government income support. Ten of the eleven participants had chronic health problems, and these were being addressed symptomatically. The children of the participants also required interventions for a range of physical, emotional and mental problems. The participants relied on local services and local practitioners to provide suitable interventions and to direct them to other services if required. They had minimal knowledge, control or choice in the type of intervention or outcomes. In this group, poor health was normalised and future health not considered. Thus, those with most to gain from health promotion and prevention activities and social inclusion programs are unlikely to benefit because they may normalise poor health. Concepts of good health, health literacy, informed consent, choice of intervention or practitioner are meaningless in this rural context of deprivation. These findings suggest that the population who endure the burden of ill-health will be by-passed by current and popular public health techniques of health promotion because rural people with poor health have low expectations of their own health and health care. Similarly, health service providers have high expectations of health and the rational choices of the population they serve. Thus, there is a major disconnect between the expectations of both. © 2010 eContent Management Pty Ltd.

DOI 10.5172/rsj.20.1.85
Citations Scopus - 9
2010 Alston M, 'Chapter 10: Australia's rural welfare policy: Overlooked and demoralised', Research in Rural Sociology and Development, 15 199-217 (2010)
Citations Scopus - 5
2010 Dietsch E, Shackleton P, Davies C, McLeod M, Alston M, ''You can drop dead': Midwives bullying women', Women and Birth, 23 53-59 (2010)

Background: This paper describes how women experienced what came to be labelled as 'bullying' by a small number of midwives when they were evacuated from their rural and... [more]

Background: This paper describes how women experienced what came to be labelled as 'bullying' by a small number of midwives when they were evacuated from their rural and remote areas of NSW, Australia to a maternity unit to birth. Research question: What is the experience of women who are required to travel away from their NSW rural/remote communities to birth? Participants and methods: Forty-two participants together with a number of their partners/support people were interviewed indepth for this qualitative, exploratory study. Upon thematic analysis of the transcribed interviews, an unexpected finding was that four participants (plus one partner) described experiences which were interpreted as bullying, by a small number of midwives working with them. Women identifying as Aboriginal were especially likely to share stories of midwifery bullying. Results, discussion and conclusion: Emotional and cultural safety of women must be a prime consideration of midwives. Strategies to reverse power differentials between midwives and women are urgently required to eradicate bullying by any midwife. Crown Copyright © 2009.

DOI 10.1016/j.wombi.2009.07.002
Citations Scopus - 13
2010 Dietsch E, Shackleton P, Davies C, Alston M, McLeod M, ''Mind you, there's no anaesthetist on the road': women's experiences of labouring en route.', Rural and remote health, 10 1371 (2010)

INTRODUCTION: The aim of this article was to learn from women in rural New South Wales (NSW) Australia, their experiences of labouring en route to birth in a centralised maternity... [more]

INTRODUCTION: The aim of this article was to learn from women in rural New South Wales (NSW) Australia, their experiences of labouring en route to birth in a centralised maternity unit. METHODS: This qualitative study was exploratory and descriptive. It was part of a larger project that explored women's experiences when they birthed away from their rural communities. Participants were recruited from communities all over rural NSW where a maternity unit had closed. Forty-two female participants and three of their male partners shared their stories of 73 labours and births. This article draws on data collected during in-depth interviews with 12 participants and one partner who shared their experiences of labouring en route to a centralised maternity service. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim for the purpose of thematic analysis. Exemplars, using the participants' own words and highlighting story are identified as a tool used for data synthesis and presentation. RESULTS: Two themes were identified. These relate to the way the risk of dangerous road travel is ignored in obstetric risk discourse, and the deprivations experienced when women labour en route. An unexpected finding was the positive nature of one woman's experience of birthing by the side of the road. CONCLUSIONS: Many participants questioned why they needed to risk unsafe road travel when their preference was to labour and birth in their local communities with a midwife.

Citations Scopus - 24
2009 Allan JM, Ball P, Alston MM, '"The first port of call is always the doctor": General practitioner roles in addressing social inclusion', Medical Journal of Australia, 191 101 (2009)
2009 Alston M, 'Drought policy in Australia: Gender mainstreaming or gender blindness?', Gender, Place and Culture, 16 139-154 (2009)

Australia is experiencing a major drought, one that has devastated the landscape and people for up to ten years. This major disaster has accelerated ongoing rural restructuring an... [more]

Australia is experiencing a major drought, one that has devastated the landscape and people for up to ten years. This major disaster has accelerated ongoing rural restructuring and created changes in the way farm family members order and live their lives. Yet despite evidence that drought is a gendered experience, that is, that generally women and men experience and respond to drought differently, and despite a rhetorical move to gender mainstreaming in Australian policy circles, drought policy remains significantly gender blind. In this article I use the example of emergency support to poverty stricken farm families to show how agricultural departments that attend to a notional norm of family farming as a unitary male pursuit can actively discriminate against women in their efforts to preserve the farm and support their families. The article exposes gender mainstreaming as an 'empty signifier' that is contextually grounded and that its success is highly dependent on making these issues transparent. For gender equity efforts to reach women at local levels, I argue that gender mainstreaming requires international collaboration by gender specialists to facilitate greater attention to gender assessments by national bodies. It also requires national coalitions of gender expert units, women's organisations and academics to work together to expose culturally specific gendered issues and discriminatory outcomes.

DOI 10.1080/09663690902795738
Citations Scopus - 19Web of Science - 15
2009 Alston M, Kent J, 'Generation X-pendable: The social exclusion of rural and remote young people', Journal of Sociology, 45 89-107 (2009)

Many small communities across the vast interior of Australia are under pressure from ongoing rural restructuring and a long-running drought. Socioeconomic indicators suggest that ... [more]

Many small communities across the vast interior of Australia are under pressure from ongoing rural restructuring and a long-running drought. Socioeconomic indicators suggest that rural people are significantly disadvantaged by comparison with their urban counterparts. While these factors are evident, less well understood are the circumstances of rural and remote young people. In this article we draw on research conducted in 2001 and 2004 on the employment and educational experiences of young people in these communities. Using Reimer's typology of relations associated with social exclusion - market, bureaucratic, associative and communal - we indicate that rural and remote young people are experiencing rising levels of social exclusion. Their access to education and employment is restricted through no fault of their own, and is in fact, obstructed by government policy. The need for sensitive policy to increase the social inclusion of young people in rural and remote areas is evident. © 2009 The Australian Sociological Association.

DOI 10.1177/1440783308099988
Citations Scopus - 25Web of Science - 22
2008 Alston M, Kent J, 'Education for isolated children: Challenging gendered and structural assumptions', Australian Journal of Social Issues, 43 427-440 (2008)

This paper examines the provision of distance education to young people studying from their isolated properties in remote areas of Australia. While Australia's innovative app... [more]

This paper examines the provision of distance education to young people studying from their isolated properties in remote areas of Australia. While Australia's innovative approach to remote education is well established, this paper challenges the gender and structural assumptions underpinning this approach. A sustained period of rural restructuring and a long period of drought have changed the social relations of agriculture in a number of significant ways that ultimately undermine distance education as it is currently constructed. The assumption that mothers are available to provide home tutoring is no longer valid given the pressures on them to work on properties due to staff cutbacks and off properties to earn additional income. Further, the trend for farm family properties to be amalgamated into larger holdings and for these holdings to be run by farm workers also undermines the assumption that parents are willing, able and resourced to home tutor their children for long periods. This paper raises significant questions about the adequacy of current distance education provisions in remote areas.

DOI 10.1002/j.1839-4655.2008.tb00111.x
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
2008 Alston M, Mason R, 'Who turns the taps off? Introducing social flow to the australian water debate', Rural Society, 18 131-139 (2008)

Water has become a critical issue in Australia. Who has it and who determines priorities have become highly politicised. Yet the basis on which priorities are set and stakeholder ... [more]

Water has become a critical issue in Australia. Who has it and who determines priorities have become highly politicised. Yet the basis on which priorities are set and stakeholder views incorporated is less well defined. The commodification of water through the introduction of a water trading policy and the use of market principles suggest a prioritising of the economic over environmental and social concerns. In this paper we discuss the way water decisions are determined, outlining the myriad bodies through which the decisions about water priorities are determined and noting an inherent economic bias in the rationale behind water decisions. We introduce the notion of social flow to indicate a largely overlooked aspect of water use ¿ the social good resulting from water use by community members ¿ to argue that this factor should be given greater priority in the way water allocations are determined, priorities set and stakeholder views incorporated. © 2008 eContent Management Pty Ltd.

DOI 10.5172/rsj.351.18.2.131
Citations Scopus - 13
2008 Alston M, Mason R, 'Who determines access to australia¿s water? Social flow, gender, citizenship and stakeholder priorities in the australian water crisis', Rural Society, 18 214-219 (2008)

Water, or lack of it, has become an issue of national and international significance. Who gets it and for what purpose are critical decisions being made right around the globe. In... [more]

Water, or lack of it, has become an issue of national and international significance. Who gets it and for what purpose are critical decisions being made right around the globe. In this paper we argue that the bodies through which these decisions are made are significantly gendered, with men dominating the ranks of water decision making bodies. Further we argue that the dominant factors that drive decisions are the economic value of water followed closely by the environmental issues associated with low water supply. Drawing on earlier work, we argue that the social factors associated with water, or what we refer to as social flow, are largely overlooked in decisions about water allocation. We assert that a significant reason for this is the gendered make up of water bodies. We therefore conclude that it is essential that women become more prominent on these bodies and that greater attention be given to the gendering of decision making bodies and the factors that drive these decisions. © 2008 eContent Management Pty Ltd.

DOI 10.5172/rsj.351.18.3.214
Citations Scopus - 9
2008 Alston M, Kent J, 'The big dry: The link between rural masculinities and poor health outcomes for farming men', Journal of Sociology, 44 133-147 (2008)

The long-running Australian drought has had significant economic and environmental consequences, not least its impact on water supplies for major cities. What is less well underst... [more]

The long-running Australian drought has had significant economic and environmental consequences, not least its impact on water supplies for major cities. What is less well understood are the social consequences affecting the farm families and communities reliant on agricultural production. In this article we focus on the mental health outcomes for farm men, noting that they are more vulnerable to extreme measures such as suicide. We argue that a dominant form of hegemonic masculinity in rural areas, which has served men well in good times, allowing them power and privilege, is inherently unhealthy in times of significant stress such as the current drought. The stoicism so typical of normative rural masculinity prevents men from seeking help when their health is severely compromised. We argue that attending to the health of rural men during drought requires attention not just to health outcomes but also to hegemonic masculinity. © 2008 The Australian Sociological Association.

DOI 10.1177/1440783308089166
Citations Scopus - 85Web of Science - 76
2008 Allan J, Ball P, Alston M, ''You have to face your mistakes in the street': the contextual keys that shape health service access and health workers' experiences in rural areas.', Rural and remote health, 8 835 (2008)

INTRODUCTION: Rural healthcare provision is limited in many areas because of workforce recruitment and retention issues.Pharmacists and social workers are examples of allied healt... [more]

INTRODUCTION: Rural healthcare provision is limited in many areas because of workforce recruitment and retention issues.Pharmacists and social workers are examples of allied health professionals who play vital roles in the provision of rural health care.Personal factors including an individual's fit with a local community and their professional role were explored to determine the way they affect access to rural health care. Design: Accidental sampling then 11 qualitative interviews with pharmacists and social workers. Setting: Six rural communities with populations less than 5000, New South Wales, Australia.METHODOLOGY: Deductive and inductive analysis of data.RESULTS: Exploration of health work in small rural towns identified that participants' work and personal experiences are affected by their professional role and associated tasks, and by the way the community perceives that role. Social workers are likely to provide outreach or visiting services and use different professional networks than pharmacists. Social workers tend to perceive their client's problems as related to poverty and rural decline with limited options for successful intervention through the health system. Pharmacists are confident in their role as treatment providers and have a thorough knowledge of their own community, although they use a limited range of other local healthcare providers, tending to rely on doctors. Access to healthcare services is affected by organisational strategies to manage demand on services, privacy and confidentiality and the community's perception of the effectiveness of the service and the individual worker. Local knowledge and local context shaped the services pharmacists and social workers provided, and the way they managed their personal and professional activities in a small community.CONCLUSION: Access to rural health services is affected by an individual's concerns about privacy and confidentiality, by the reputation of the healthcare worker and by the value system of the health worker. Different professions use different networks of health care, subsequently approaching rural social conditions and their related problems from diverse perspectives. This influences the health worker's experience of effectiveness in their professional role and the way they manage their high degree of visibility in small communities. Implications: The need for a systematic evaluation of health service access emphasising the particular aspects of local rural context is highlighted. Such a work should include investigation of multidisciplinary models of service provision.This will optimise the range of health care available to small rural communities.

Citations Scopus - 15Web of Science - 14
2007 Alston M, '"It's really not easy to get help": Services to drought-affected families', Australian Social Work, 60 421-435 (2007)

The present paper details the results of research conducted with drought-affected farm families in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The study reveals the significant health and w... [more]

The present paper details the results of research conducted with drought-affected farm families in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The study reveals the significant health and welfare stresses experienced by families and the lack of access to services and support. The research was conducted in three sites in rural and remote areas of NSW in 2003. Farm family members, service providers, and other community key informants were interviewed. The paper outlines ways that the social work profession can respond to significant natural disasters.

DOI 10.1080/03124070701671149
Citations Scopus - 17
2007 Linder-Ganz E, Scheinowitz M, Yizhar Z, Margulies SS, Gefen A, 'How do normals move during prolonged wheelchair-sitting?', Technol Health Care, 15 195-202 (2007)
2007 Alston M, 'Globalisation, rural restructuring and health service delivery in Australia: Policy failure and the role of social work?', Health and Social Care in the Community, 15 195-202 (2007)

The impacts of globalisation and rural restructuring on health service delivery in rural Australia have been significant. In the present paper, it is argued that declining health ... [more]

The impacts of globalisation and rural restructuring on health service delivery in rural Australia have been significant. In the present paper, it is argued that declining health service access represents a failure of policy. Rural communities across the world are in a state of flux, and Australia is no different: rural communities are ageing at faster rates than urban communities and young people are out-migrating in large numbers. During the past 5 years, rural Australia has also experienced a severe and widespread drought that has exacerbated rural poverty, and impacted on the health and well-being of rural Australians. Australian governments have responded to globalising forces by introducing neoliberal policy initiatives favouring market solutions and championing the need for self-reliance among citizens. The result for rural Australia has been a withdrawal of services at a time of increased need. This paper addresses the social work response to these changes. © 2007 Blaokwell Publishing Ltd.

DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2007.00696.x
Citations Scopus - 32Web of Science - 33
2007 Allan J, Ball P, Alston M, 'Developing sustainable models of rural health care: a community development approach.', Rural and remote health, 7 818 (2007)

Globally, small rural communities frequently are demographically similar to their neighbours and are consistently found to have a number of problems linked to the international ph... [more]

Globally, small rural communities frequently are demographically similar to their neighbours and are consistently found to have a number of problems linked to the international phenomenon of rural decline and urban drift. For example, it is widely noted that rural populations have poor health status and aging populations. In Australia, multiple state and national policies and programs have been instigated to redress this situation. Yet few rural residents would agree that their town is the same as an apparently similar sized one nearby or across the country. This article reports a project that investigated the way government policies, health and community services, population characteristics and local peculiarities combined for residents in two small rural towns in New South Wales. Interviews and focus groups with policy makers, health and community service workers and community members identified the felt, expressed, normative and comparative needs of residents in the case-study towns. Key findings include substantial variation in service provision between towns because of historical funding allocations, workforce composition, natural disasters and distance from the nearest regional centre. Health and community services were more likely to be provided because of available funding, rather than identified community needs. While some services, such as mental illness intervention and GPs, are clearly in demand in rural areas, in these examples, more health services were not needed. Rather, flexibility in the services provided and work practices, role diversity for health and community workers and community profiling would be more effective to target services. The impact of industry, employment and recreation on health status cannot be ignored in local development.

Citations Scopus - 13
2006 Alston M, ''I'd like to just walk out of here': Australian women's experience of drought', Sociologia Ruralis, 46 154-170 (2006)

A major drought has been a feature of the Australian rural landscape for much of the new century. Inland rural Australia, the main locus of large-scale agricultural production, is... [more]

A major drought has been a feature of the Australian rural landscape for much of the new century. Inland rural Australia, the main locus of large-scale agricultural production, is a site where discursive practices construct a reality that disempowers women, where men engaged in agricultural pursuits are regarded as farmers and women are more likely to be accorded secondary status despite their contributions to the economic and social survival of farm families. The dominant discourses and imagery of drought have been framed around its impact on the landscape and the decline in agricultural production. Consequently, the narratives of women's lives have been subjugated during a time of significant hardship. This article presents three case studies of Australian women on drought-stricken farms. They are drawn from a larger study conducted in three sites in rural New South Wales during 2003. These stories reveal the taken-for-granted labour undertaken by women and the multi-dimensional and gendered reality of the drought experience. © 2006 The Author. Journal Compilation © 2006 European Society for Rural Sociology.

DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9523.2006.00409.x
Citations Scopus - 43Web of Science - 38
2006 Alston M, Allan J, Dietsch E, Wilkinson J, Shankar J, Osburn L, et al., 'Brutal neglect: Australian rural women's access to health services.', Rural and remote health, 6 475 (2006)

Access to health services in rural Australia has been particularly problematic because of the vast geographical areas and the sparse population distribution across the inland. The... [more]

Access to health services in rural Australia has been particularly problematic because of the vast geographical areas and the sparse population distribution across the inland. The focus on health servicing has been very much on primary health care with most attention being giving to the distribution of doctors in rural Australia. This study takes a closer look at rural health servicing through the eyes of women in rural Australia. Drawing on a survey of 820 women, the study revealed that a focus on primary health care may be resulting in a lack of attention to women's health in areas, such as maternity models of care, domestic violence and mental health. The study also reveals the disquiet of Australian rural women at the poor state of health services.

Citations Scopus - 22
2005 Alston M, 'Guest Editorial', Rural Society, 15 231-233 (2005)
DOI 10.1080/10371656.2005.11005402
Citations Scopus - 1
2005 Alston M, 'Forging a new paradigm for australian rural social work practice', Rural Society, 15 277-284 (2005)

Rural Australia is in crisis. Decades of restructuring, overlaid with a crippling drought, have left small inland rural areas facing major social problems. Population loss and a d... [more]

Rural Australia is in crisis. Decades of restructuring, overlaid with a crippling drought, have left small inland rural areas facing major social problems. Population loss and a decline in service and infrastructure typify rural communities at a time when rural people face increased stress, social isolation and mental health problems.At the same time, federal and state governments have largely turned their backs on rural communities arguing that rural people must become more self-reliant. In this paper, I argue that circumstances demand a commitment from social workers to develop a new model of rural social work, and put forward my ideas about what this model might look like. I invite readers to comment on and contribute to the further development of this model so that social workers might make a contribution to the enhancement and survival of rural communities. © 2005 eContent Management Pty Ltd.

DOI 10.5172/rsj.351.15.3.277
Citations Scopus - 11
2004 Alston M, ''You don't want to be a check-out chick all your life': The out-migration of young people from Australia's small rural towns', Australian Journal of Social Issues, 39 299-313 (2004)

Globalisation and changes in agriculture have resulted in major social changes in inland Australia. Depopulation of the inland has led many to speculate on the future of rural tow... [more]

Globalisation and changes in agriculture have resulted in major social changes in inland Australia. Depopulation of the inland has led many to speculate on the future of rural towns and rural people. This paper will examine population drifts from country towns to cities and from the inland to the coastal regions and, in particular, the out-migration of young people. In doing this, the paper focuses on several small towns in central New South Wales that have been the subject of intensive study during 2000 and 2001. Drawing on analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, in-depth interviews and focus groups with key informants and surveys with young people and their parents in small rural communities the paper will report on the loss of young people and the greater loss of young women from these areas. It is argued that this outmigration of young people is linked to the need to seek higher education and also to the loss of full-time jobs for young people. The loss of these jobs is the result of changes in agricultural production, labour market restructuring and a withdrawal of public and private sector services. It is further argued that current reliance by governments on market based and community self-help solutions is not enough to provide a future for rural communities. Even if economic growth occurs this will not solve the problem of loss of young people, and the greater loss of young women, nor will it address the issue of access to education and training. Rather far greater attention to human capital (access to education, training and employment), institutional capital (government and non-government services and infrastructure) and social capital (strong networks) is needed if Australia's small rural towns are to survive and flourish.

DOI 10.1002/j.1839-4655.2004.tb01178.x
Citations Scopus - 57Web of Science - 51
2004 Alston M, 'Who is down on the farm? Social aspects of Australian agriculture in the 21st century', Agriculture and Human Values, 21 37-46 (2004)

Globalization, international policy manipulations such as the US farm bill, and national policy responses have received a great deal of media coverage in recent times. These inter... [more]

Globalization, international policy manipulations such as the US farm bill, and national policy responses have received a great deal of media coverage in recent times. These international and national events are having a major impact on agricultural production in Australia. There is some suggestion that they are, in fact, responsible for a downturn in the fortunes of agriculture. Yet, it is more likely that these issues are acting to continue and exacerbate a trend towards reduced viability for farm families evident in economic and social trends since at least the 1950s. Nevertheless, globalization and Australia's policy responses have left farm families more vulnerable in the global world. What then do we know about their impact at farm gate level? Just who is doing the farming in Australia in the 21st century and how are these people responding to major world politics? This paper will focus on the social aspects of agricultural production in Australia noting social trends and drawing attention to the changing social relations of agriculture. The dominance of farm families, the role of corporate agriculture, ethnic diversity, the importance of women, and the practice of farm transfers will be canvassed in this paper. © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

DOI 10.1023/B:AHUM.0000014019.84085.59
Citations Scopus - 51Web of Science - 51
2003 Alston M, 'Women in agriculture: the 'new entrepreneurs'', AUSTRALIAN FEMINIST STUDIES, 18 163-171 (2003)
DOI 10.1080/0816464032000102247
Citations Web of Science - 7
2003 Alston MM, Kent J, 'Educational access for Australia's rural young people: A case of social exclusion', Australian Journal of Education, 47 5-17 (2003)

The social and economic effects of globalisation in rural communities is well documented. Ageing populations, loss of services and employment opportunities are typical of rural ar... [more]

The social and economic effects of globalisation in rural communities is well documented. Ageing populations, loss of services and employment opportunities are typical of rural areas in many western industrialised countries. Focusing on declining access to tertiary education, this paper argues that a lack of adequate policy is creating socially excluded young people in country towns. In particular, drawing on research conducted in the Centre for Rural Social Research at Charles Sturt University, it argues that the financial cost of education is creating a huge barrier for many rural families. If rural areas are to benefit from globalisation, a skilled workforce is critical. Declining rural access to tertiary education exacerbates power differentials resulting from globalisation and therefore restrains access to the opportunities of globalisation and hinders rural revitalisation.

DOI 10.1177/000494410304700102
Citations Scopus - 21
2003 Alston M, 'Women's representation in an Australian rural context', Sociologia Ruralis, 43 474-487 (2003)

Australian rural women are largely invisible in public areas of influence. This paper presents findings of research into Australian rural women's public profile in powerful a... [more]

Australian rural women are largely invisible in public areas of influence. This paper presents findings of research into Australian rural women's public profile in powerful agricultural organisations. Using a survey of Chairs of influential Boards and follow up interviews, as well as a survey of women in influential positions it shows that the Australian agricultural agenda is largely framed around a masculinist position and that women remain shadowy presences of outraged silence. Few men in powerful positions express disquiet about the current situation, with most arguing that appointments are based on merit. This paper exposes the fallacy of such a position noting that merit-based appointment is impossible under current selection processes. Disturbingly women who have gained access to positions of influence report overt and covert harassment from male colleagues. The paper concludes that changes to organisational culture are essential if women are to gain access to positions of influence.

DOI 10.1046/j.1467-9523.2003.00256.x
Citations Scopus - 20Web of Science - 15
2003 Alston M, 'Women in agriculture: The 'new entrepreneurs'', Australian Feminist Studies, 18 163-171+224 (2003)
DOI 10.1080/08164640301726
Citations Scopus - 11
2002 Alston M, 'Social capital in rural Australia', Rural Society, 12 93-104 (2002)

In Australia, as in the rest of the industrialised world, social capital has been identified as a key element in rural regeneration. For example, the Prime Minister, John Howard, ... [more]

In Australia, as in the rest of the industrialised world, social capital has been identified as a key element in rural regeneration. For example, the Prime Minister, John Howard, speaks openly of the need for a ¿social coalition¿ between communities, governments and businesses that will build social cohesion and trust at community level. For two decades successive Australian governments have followed the world-wide trend in industrialised nations to devolve responsibility for social welfare programs to local areas and to nongovernment agencies, the stated rationale being to break down welfare dependency and to promote individual responsibility. The dismantling of the welfare state and the triumph of capitalism have been defining features of the Australian landscape in recent years. © 2002 eContent Management Pty Ltd.

DOI 10.5172/rsj.12.2.93
Citations Scopus - 43
2001 Forrest J, Alston M, Medlin C, Amri S, 'Voter behaviour in rural areas: A study of the Farrer electoral division in southern New South Wales at the 1998 federal election', Australian Geographical Studies, 39 167-182 (2001)

The National (Country) Party, traditional beneficiary of a countrymindedness ethos in rural and regional Australia, suffered a significant electoral setback at the 1998 federal el... [more]

The National (Country) Party, traditional beneficiary of a countrymindedness ethos in rural and regional Australia, suffered a significant electoral setback at the 1998 federal election from a new conservative force in Australian politics, the One Nation Party. One Nation has been characterised as the party of the 'old' Australia, those least able to cope with the pace of recent social and economic changes, rationalisation and centralisation of services and the exodus of people from rural and regional areas. Such a characterisation is supported by findings from this study of the geography of voting and the social correlates of One Nation's support base in the Farrer electoral division in south-western New South Wales.

DOI 10.1111/1467-8470.00138
Citations Scopus - 13
1999 Alston M, 'Summit report', Rural Society, 9 602-603 (1999)
DOI 10.1080/10371656.1999.11005262
1998 Alston M, Wilkinson J, 'Australian farm women - Shut out or fenced in? The lack of women in agricultural leadership', Sociologia Ruralis, 38 404-408 (1998)

This paper discusses the lack of women in leadership positions in Australian agriculture. Using a feminist framework, it examines the gendered nature of power and organizations an... [more]

This paper discusses the lack of women in leadership positions in Australian agriculture. Using a feminist framework, it examines the gendered nature of power and organizations and analyses the processes that operate to exclude women. The role of the state in supporting male dominance of agriculture is discussed, as is the role of Australian femocrats in seeking to overcome women's disadvantage. The paper draws on the results of a 1997 survey of the chairs of 140 Australian boards associated with agriculture to demonstrate that those with the power to effect change are insensitive to the barriers women face when seeking leadership. Most choose to locate the reasons for women's exclusion in real or imagined inadequacies of women ignoring gendered organizational structures and processes. The paper calls for action on the part of governments, industry leaders and women's groups to address the lack of women in decision-making positions in agriculture. © 1998 European Society for Rural Sociology.

Citations Scopus - 22
1998 Alston M, 'Farm women and their work: Why is it not recognised?', Journal of Sociology, 34 23-34 (1998)

This paper examines the lack of recognition and devaluing of the work of Australian farm women by examining the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Eco nomics (ABARE) r... [more]

This paper examines the lack of recognition and devaluing of the work of Australian farm women by examining the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Eco nomics (ABARE) report, Women on Farms (Gooday 1995). The paper argues that the work of ABARE and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is fundamentally flawed by their definition of what constitutes valid work and by their perception that farm family labour can be differentiated by gender such that the work of men is accorded greater value while the work of women is reduced or ignored. By examining the nature of farm family labour, analysing the notions of work and by incorporating a radical fem inist framework to this analysis, this paper challenges ABS and ABARE to re-examine their position on the issue of work. © 1996, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1177/144078339803400103
Citations Scopus - 33Web of Science - 30
1996 Alston M, 'Goals for women: Improving media representation of women¿s sport', Rural Society, 6 35-36 (1996)
DOI 10.1080/10371656.1996.11005178
Citations Scopus - 1
1995 ALSTON M, 'WOMEN AND THEIR WORK ON AUSTRALIAN FARMS', RURAL SOCIOLOGY, 60 521-532 (1995)
Citations Scopus - 31Web of Science - 25
1995 Alston M, 'National Rural Women's Forum', Rural Society, 5 44-45 (1995)
DOI 10.1080/10371656.1995.11005142
Citations Scopus - 1
1994 Alston M, 'Conference report', Rural Society, 4 20-31 (1994)
DOI 10.1080/10371656.1994.11005122
1992 Alston M, 'Rural Australia', Australian Social Work, 45 2 (1992)
DOI 10.1080/03124079208550128
Citations Scopus - 3
1992 Alston M, 'Rural welfare inequity', Rural Society, 2 26 (1992)
DOI 10.1080/10371656.1992.11005051
1990 Alston M, 'Feminism and Farm Women', Australian Social Work, 43 23-27 (1990)

The paper focuses on the reasons for the unpopularity of feminism in the hush. When one looks at the productive and reproductive work undertaken by farm women it is clear that the... [more]

The paper focuses on the reasons for the unpopularity of feminism in the hush. When one looks at the productive and reproductive work undertaken by farm women it is clear that they are heavily involved in the ¿men's work¿ undertaken in their enterprise. Consequently, their antagonism to feminism is difficult to understand. However, when issues of feminist theorising are addressed, it becomes clear that, in fact, feminism may have alienated many farm women. By using the concepts of patriarchy and power to illuminate farm women's lives, it is clear that they are extremely marginalised and their labour contributions are largely ignored. There is much work to be done by feminists in addressing the areas of concern for farm women. © 1990, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1080/03124079008550052
Citations Scopus - 16
Show 64 more journal articles

Conference (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 Alston M, 'Synthesis paper on socioeconomic factors relating to agriculture and community development', Crop and Pasture Science (2012)

Agriculture is highly dependent on the social sustainability inherent in rural communities. Yet too often we focus on the economic and environmental drivers relating to agricultur... [more]

Agriculture is highly dependent on the social sustainability inherent in rural communities. Yet too often we focus on the economic and environmental drivers relating to agricultural production, ignoring the social and community aspects that make rural livelihood not only possible but also rewarding and nurturing. In this paper I focus on climate change as yet another factor associated with rural restructuring that defrays community wellbeing. I argue that attention to social factors and a stronger role for government in assisting communities will enable greater adaptation and enhance resilience in what are essentially very uncertain times. © 2012 CSIRO.

DOI 10.1071/CP11173
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
2007 Alston M, 'Rural and regional developments in social work higher education', Australian Social Work (2007)

Social work education has traditionally been taught in urban universities in on-campus programs. In the present paper, the author outlines the nature of social work education at C... [more]

Social work education has traditionally been taught in urban universities in on-campus programs. In the present paper, the author outlines the nature of social work education at Charles Sturt University, a regional Australian university. The author argues that social work education in a rural/regional university is shaped by rural social contextual issues, as well as by changes in the higher education sector. The author notes that social work education fills a significant gap in that it attracts students who are unable to access urban campuses, adds value to rural service delivery, supports rural/regional research, and highlights issues of rural disadvantage. Despite this, the paper argues that rural disadvantage and higher education sector pressures place the delivery of social work education shaped around and responsive to rural social justice issues in regional universities in jeopardy.

DOI 10.1080/03124070601166752
Citations Scopus - 9
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 13
Total funding $2,001,000

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20161 grants / $379,000

The Invisible Farmer: Securing Australian Farm Women's History$379,000

Funding body: ARC (Australian Research Council)

Funding body ARC (Australian Research Council)
Project Team

Prof Joy Damousi, Prof Margaret Alston, A/Prof Gavan McCarthy, Mr Kevin Bradley, Ms Lisa Dale-Hallett, Mr Damien Hirst, Ms Helen Morgan

Scheme Linkage Projects
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON N

20141 grants / $160,000

Food security in Laos$160,000

An analysis of women's role in food security in Laos

Funding body: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Funding body Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
Project Team

Margaret Alston and Kerri Whittenbury

Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2015
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON N

20131 grants / $350,000

Social Sustainability in Victorian Dairy Communities$350,000

Funding body: ARC (Australian Research Council)

Funding body ARC (Australian Research Council)
Project Team

Prof Margaret Alston, Dr Kerri Whittenbury

Scheme Linkage Projects
Role Lead
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2016
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON N

20114 grants / $450,000

Gender and climate change in Bangladesh$350,000

An analysis of gendered impacts of slow-onset climate changes in Bangladesh

Funding body: Oxfam Australia

Funding body Oxfam Australia
Project Team

Margaret Alston, Kerri Whittenbury, Oxfam partners

Scheme Oxfam-Monash
Role Lead
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2014
GNo
Type Of Funding C3220 - International Philanthropy
Category 3220
UON N

Funding for delegates to Prato conference on gender and climate change$60,000

This funding supported the attendance of South Pacific delegates to the conference we organised in Monash's Prato Italy centre. The conference was on gender and climate change

Funding body: AusAID (Australian Agency for International Development)

Funding body AusAID (Australian Agency for International Development)
Project Team

Margaret Alston, Kerri Whittenbury

Scheme AusAID Development Research Awards
Role Lead
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2011
GNo
Type Of Funding C2120 - Aust Commonwealth - Other
Category 2120
UON N

Assisting delegates to Monash Prato conference on gender and climate change$30,000

This was a one off grant from the US Dept of State gender and climate change division to fund South Pacific delegates to our gender and climate change conference in Prato

Funding body: United States of America, Department of State

Funding body United States of America, Department of State
Project Team

Margaret Alston, Kerri Whittenbury

Scheme United States department of state
Role Lead
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2011
GNo
Type Of Funding C3212 - International Not for profit
Category 3212
UON N

Production of a gender justice paper$10,000

Production of a gender justice paper 

Funding body: Oxfam Australia

Funding body Oxfam Australia
Project Team

Margaret Alston, Kerri Whittenbury, Alex Haines

Scheme Oxfam-Monash
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2011
GNo
Type Of Funding C3120 - Aust Philanthropy
Category 3120
UON N

20101 grants / $40,000

Alcohol and Drug Use Amongst Fishing and Farming Workers$40,000

Funding body: Rural Industry Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)

Funding body Rural Industry Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)
Project Team

Prof Margaret Alston, Dr Julaine Allan, Dr Patrick Ball, Dr Anton Clifford

Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2010
Funding Finish 2013
GNo
Type Of Funding Not Known
Category UNKN
UON N

20093 grants / $540,000

rural adjustment or structural transformation? Discovering the destinies of exiting farm families$470,000

An examination of the outcomes for exiting farm families

Funding body: ARC (Australian Research Council)

Funding body ARC (Australian Research Council)
Project Team

Sally Weller, Bill Pritchard, Margaret Alston, Michael Webber

Scheme Discovery Projects
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2009
Funding Finish 2014
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON N

Women and climate change$50,000

A one-year grant to do a scoping study on women in agriculture

Funding body: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia

Funding body Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia
Project Team

Margaret Alston

Scheme Women's grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2009
Funding Finish 2009
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON N

Gender mainstreaming$20,000

The fund was for a paper to be developed on gender mainstreaming

Funding body: Office for women

Funding body Office for women
Project Team

Margaret Alston

Scheme Office for women grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2009
Funding Finish 2009
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON N

20082 grants / $82,000

Water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin$52,000

This one year funded project was designed to assess the social impacts of water reform in the MDBA

Funding body: Monash University

Funding body Monash University
Project Team

Margaret Alston, Kerri Whittenbury

Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2009
GNo
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON N

Rural women and maternity services$30,000

This project examined the impact on rural women of major closures of maternity hospitals across rural Australia. It resulted in a number of papers and a report entitled 'Luckily we Had a Torch'

Funding body: Nurses and Midwives Board of New South Wales

Funding body Nurses and Midwives Board of New South Wales
Project Team

Elaine Dietsch, Pam Shackleton, Carmel Davies, Margaret McLeod, Margaret Alston

Scheme research grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2009
GNo
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - State
Category 2OPS
UON N
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current5

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2017 PhD An analysis of contemporary farm women
This project is part of the Invisible Farmer project - an ARC funded project with the Victorian Museum and Uni of Melbourne, the Vic State govt, the ABC, the National Library. The project is designed to build knowledge of women's role in agriculture. This thesis focuses on the contemporary farm women
Social Work, Monash University Principal Supervisor
2017 PhD Impacts of climate related heat stress on older women
This project is designed to understand the critical impacts of heat stress caused by climate changes on older women. 
Social Work, Monash University Principal Supervisor
2016 PhD Women and transport
This project is part of a larger GRIP study of diverse aspects of public transport in Victoria funded by transport Vic. This particular project is assessing the workforce impacts resulting from a dominance of men in transport infrastructure
Social Work, Monash University Principal Supervisor
2015 PhD Rural women and empowerment: social work in Australia and China
A comparative study of rural women and empowerment in Australia and China
Social Work, Monash University Principal Supervisor
2013 PhD Grief and loss - Black Saturday
An analysis of grief and loss in the context of disaster
Society & Culture N.E.C., Monash University Co-Supervisor
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Professor Margaret Alston

Position

Professor
Social Work
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Contact Details

Email margaret.alston@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 6702

Office

Room Enter Building code/room eg W220
Building W Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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