Call for Papers

Disability and the Global South

An International Journal

Disability, Asylum and Migration

Guest Editors: Maria Pisani (University of Malta) and Shaun Grech (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Much has been written and documented on migration and the movements of people within and across national borders. In the light of environmental disasters, wars and conflict, food shortages, and environmental degradation, issues concerning the migration – development nexus have received considerable attention with the development literature infused within broader subjects of poverty reduction and humanitarian intervention. However, within the research and literature on forced migration, one is continuously struck by the persistent absence of disabled people in its content (other than notable exceptions such as the FMR special issue- 2010) as well as theoretical disengagements. This absence is evident also across all of the disciplinary fields  in forced migration including international development, anthropology, global health and humanitarian action. Moreover, many countries of resettlement, such as Canada and Australia, actively exclude disabled people from their refugee and asylum programs. Critically, disability studies has yet to extensively engage with the predicament of disabled refugees and asylum seekers and their journeys across a range of geopolitical spaces. This is despite the fact that wars, conflict and environmental disasters that cause people to migrate are also a major cause of impairment and impoverishment, whilst the forced migratory passage impacts disabled people as they flee or attempt to reconstruct their lives in other places. This negligence is sustained by the virtual exclusion of disabled migrants, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees and asylum seekers from major policy documents such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the most recent offering, the WHO/World Bank (2011) World Report on Disability.

This special issue aims to transcend disciplinary, epistemological, and other boundaries, inviting researchers, activists and practitioners to engage in critical debate around all aspects of the migration experience and disability, following journeys for asylum from global South to global North or within the global South. We are keen to hear from those in the global South, in particular empirical work that prioritises and renders visible these lives and voices, and that pushes for disability and migration as a key area of study and practice. We encourage contributions exploring a range of themes including (not exclusively):

  • Causes of forced migration among disabled people in the global South
  • Experiences of disabled people during exodus and post-conflict/humanitarian contexts
  • Intersections of disability, race, culture,  poverty, gender and legal status in the migration process
  • Asylum, disabled bodies, and (re)construction of disabled lives across borders
  • Globalisation, neoliberalism and the role of the disabled migrant in contemporary imperialism
  • Racism, xenophobia and the position of the disabled migrant
  • Medicalisation and treatment in the West
  • Disabled migrants in policy and practice: critical analyses
  • Disabled migrants in resettlement
  • Disability and migration in disciplines: reviews and approaches for inclusion (e.g. disability studies and migration studies)
  • Disabled migrants, voice, and claims for social justice

Those wishing to submit an article, please email your full manuscript to both Shaun Grech ( and Maria Pisani ( Please insert ‘Submission for Disability and Migration Special Issue’ in the subject line. Manuscripts will be sent anonymously for double peer review, and comments and recommendations relayed to authors through the editors. Papers should be no more than 8000 words, with an abstract of 150-200words. Please follow the journal’s instructions on formatting prior to submission Deadline for submission: 1st September 2013