Dr Katherine Curchin

BA (Hons) University of Queensland, MA (Distinction) University of Manchester, PhD ANU
Senior Lecturer in Social Policy
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Social Policy 160512
  • Political Theory And Political Philosophy 160609
  • Human Rights And Justice Issues 220104
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Policy 160501
  • Public Administration 160509

Research interests

Welfare conditionality and income management; welfare stigma; employment services; trauma-informed social services; behavioural public policy; paternalism; philosophy of punishment; ethics of marketization and commodification.


I am a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the Centre for Social Research and Methods and hold an Honorary position at the ANU School of Philosophy. I originally trained in normative political philosophy, and my research is at the intersection of political theory and social policy. I am centrally interested in the justifications for and effects of welfare reform especially behavioural conditionality. I am at the forefront internationally of the application of trauma-theory to the delivery of social security to better understand barriers experienced by people with complex needs. From 2024-2018 I held an Australian Research Council DECRA which focused on the relationship between Indigenous development and the welfare state, and contributed to international theorising on non-market economic development.

I served as editor-in-chief of the Australian Journal of Social Issues from 2019 to 2024. I am a member of the international advisory board of the Journal of Social Policy, a member of the executive of the Australian Social Policy Association, a member of the Social Security Research Policy and Practice Network, and part of the International Trauma-Informed Care Network.


Researcher's projects

Rival Visions for Indigenous Development in Australia

This ARC project compares Noel Pearson vision for Indigenous integration into the 'real economy' with Jon Altman's vision for the development of the 'hybrid economy'.

Current student projects

Supervisory Panel Advisor for Tony Kiessler: 'Understanding how social constructions influence the design and implementation of health policy for socially disadvantaged groups'

Past student projects

Primary Supervisor for Stephanie Puszka ‘Moral Economies of Kidney Disease and Care: Interdependencies between Yolngu and the Australian State’, winner of the Australian Anthropological Society PhD Thesis Prize.

Supervisory panel advisor for Tess Evenstar ‘Maternal Employability, Conditionality and the role of Family Services in the Australian Social Security System’.


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  20 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers