Profile image of John Fox

Dr John Fox



Lecturer in Social Work


Faculty of Health


School of Health & Social Dev


Geelong Waterfront Campus


Doctor of Philosophy, Royal Melb Inst. of Technology, 2013
Master of Social Work, Royal Melb Inst. of Technology, 2012
Master of Social Science, Royal Melb Inst. of Technology, 2002

+61 3 522 78783


John's primary interest is in developing a better approach to the experience of poverty in places like Australia. He has pursued that interest in government, the community sector and higher education with a focus on the macro or more structural aspects of social work - social policy, social planning, and community development - and on the foundational ideas of human nature and agency that inform both social theory and social work theory.

Read more on John's profile

Career highlights

Undertaking a strategic review of community services in Melbourne on behalf of Centacare Catholic Family Services.

While leading the social equity planning team for Hume City Council, Melbourne:

  • Leading a major research project into poverty in the municipality (which includes the long-disadvantaged suburb of Broadmeadows) in partnership with RMIT’s Centre for Applied Social Research, several local human service organizations, and community groups (including drafting the project report and action plan, Tackling Poverty Together).
  • Managing the Broadmeadows Neighbourhood Renewal Project in partnership with the Department of Human Services
  • Securing the $40,000 grant for, and leading, the Hume City Council Living in Harmony project 2005 which promoted intercultural understanding by bringing Muslim and other women together to exchange and explore cultural and familial histories.
  • Developing the first Bill of Rights adopted by any Australian government, the Hume City Council Social Justice Charter.

Scholar-in-residence with the Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre, Melbourne, 2015-2016.

Research interests

John's research focuses on two themes:

  1. theories of the self and human nature, and
  2. learning and teaching in both higher education and in more 'informal' education locations, such as museums and community organisations.

John's interest in theories of the self and human nature turn on:

  • addressing the neglect of bodily and material influences on human agency and wellbeing, in particular in relation to poverty and social exclusion, and
  • promoting more inter-dependent understandings of the self, rather than those that emphasise independence and self-reliance (in particular those founded in liberal thought), so as to better promote social inclusion.

This interest has led to research into materialist, dialectic and critical theory, particularly that of Marx, Theodor Adorno, and post-humanism.

John's work in relation to learning and teaching is focused on promoting these more inclusive ways of understanding human nature, both in social work and in discussions outside the university. In higher education, this has focussed on the close relationship between foundational academic literacies and skills in critical analysis and critical reflection. Given the close ties between experiences within the university and broader life experiences, this also involves a keen interest in the educational potentials of community organisations and museums and parterships between higher education and other kinds of educational organisations (an interest in public pedagogies).


Grace, M, Daddow, A, Egan, R, Fox, J, Noble, C, O’Maley, P, Ridley, C and Testa, D (2011), ‘Blurring the boundaries: a collaborative approach to language and learning support for Social Work students’, paper presented at the Multiculturalism: Perspectives from Australia, Canada and China Conference, University of Sydney, Australia, 21-22 November 2011.

Grace, M, Townsend, R, Testa, D, Fox, J, O’Maley, P, Custance, J and Daddow, A (2012), ‘Student diversity as grass roots internationalisation in Social Work education’, paper presented at the Australian Association for Social Work and Welfare Education Symposium, University of South Australia, Adelaide, 27-28 September 2012.

Fox, J (2012), ‘Welfare policy and the new materialisms’, paper presented at the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia’s Annual Conference, Materialities: Economies, Empiricism & Things, University of Sydney, Australia, 4-6 December 2012.

Fox, J (2014), ‘Relating to “wrong life”: The Counterfeiters (2007)’, paper presented at The future of the past: Representing the Holocaust, Genocide, and Mass Trauma in the 21st Century Conference, Jewish Holocaust Centre/Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, 6-8 July 2014

Fox, J and Cohen, M (2016), ‘The Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne – Public pedagogies of compassion and connection’, paper presented at the Public Pedagogies Institute Annual Conference, Turning learning back to front, Melbourne, Australia, 28-30 November, 2016


Filter by


'That classroom, that camaraderie ... it's uplifting': how a pedagogy designed to strengthen academic literacies and skills in critical analysis and address the adverse influence of liberalism created a vibrant, empowering learning community

J Fox, P O’Maley

(2022), pp. 1-20, Teaching in Higher Education, London, Eng., C1

journal article

'If you don't have a relationship with your don't care about the subject': revisiting the role of the teacher - getting off the 'sideline' and 'meddling in the middle'

J Fox, P O’Maley

(2021), Social Work Education, C1

journal article

Adorno in the classroom: how contesting the influence of late capitalism enables the integrated teaching of academic literacies and critical analysis and the development of a flourishing learning community

J Fox, Pauline O'Maley

(2018), Vol. 43, pp. 1597-1611, Studies in higher education, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Enabling new students to feel that they matter: promoting social inclusion within the university community

B Crisp, J Fox

(2014), pp. 163-169, PRACTISING SOCIAL INCLUSION, New York, NY, B1

book chapter

Becoming a Community of Readers: Academic Literacies in the Social Work Classroom

Juanita Custance, J Fox, Pauline O'Maley

(2014), pp. 219-244, Strong Starts, Supported Transitions & Student Success, Newcastle upon Tyne, Eng., B1-1

book chapter

Student diversity as grass roots internationalisation in social work education

Marty Grace, Rob Townsend, Doris Testa, J Fox, Pauline O'Maley, Juanita Custance, Angela Daddow

(2013), Vol. 15, pp. 121-135, Advances in social work and welfare education, Southport, Qld., C1

journal article

Military deployment, masculinity and trauma : reviewing the connections

J Fox, B Pease

(2012), Vol. 20, pp. 16-31, Journal of men's studies, Harriman, Tenn., C1

journal article

Negotiating the university environment : how first year students learn about university processes

B Crisp, J Fox

(2012), Vol. 14, pp. 55-73, Advances in social work and welfare education, St Lucia, Qld., C1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

No Funded Projects at Deakin found


No completed student supervisions to report