Michael Orsini, Ph.D.

Michael Orsini, Ph.D.

Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at MHS

Contact Information


Phone: (615) 343-0771
302A Calhoun Hall

Michael Orsini, Ph.D., is Full Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada  and is currently on leave from his position as Director of the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa to take up the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at MHS. He is interested in critical approaches to health policy and politics and the role of civil society actors in policy processes. His work has appeared in Policy and Society, Social Policy and Administration, the Canadian Journal of Political Science, and Social and Legal Studies, among others. He recently co-edited (with Christine Kelly) Mobilizing Metaphor: Art, Culture and Disability Activism in Canada, which is forthcoming from University of British Columbia Press), Worlds of Autism: Across the Spectrum of Neurological Difference (University of Minneosta Press, 2013) and Critical Policy Studies (University of British Columbia Press, 2007).

While at Vanderbilt, Orsini will continue work on a project exploring the role of emotions and stigma in three contested policy fields: obesity, harm reduction in the field of HIV, and dangerous offender policy.

His research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities and Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Leverhulme Trust (UK), and the Canada-US Fulbright Program.


  • Health policy
  • Interest groups and social movements
  • Gender and public policy
  • Critical disability studies
  • Autism politics and policy
  • Contested illnesses
  • Interpretive policy analysis

Representative publications

Kelly, C. and Orsini, M., Mobilizing Metaphor: Art, Culture and Disability Activism in Canada, Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press, (Forthcoming, 2016)

Fischer, F, Torgerson, D, Durnova, A. and Orsini, M., Handbook of Critical Policy Studies, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016.

Bhatia, Vandna and M. Orsini, “Narrating Sustainability in Canadian Health Care Reform Discourse”, Social Policy and Administration

Davidson, J. and Orsini, M., Worlds of Autism: Across the Spectrum of Neurological Difference, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2013

Orsini, M., “”May I see your colour coded badge?” Reflections on Research with “Vulnerable” Communities”, Interpretation and Method, Dvora Yanow and Peregrine Schwartz-Shea, Armonk, NY, M.E. Sharpe, 2013

Orsini, M. and Saurette, P., “Take Two and Vote in the Morning: Reflections on the Political Placebo Effect”, Journal of Mind Body Regulation, 1(3), 125-137, 2011.

Orsini, M., “”Autism, Neurodiversity and the Welfare State: The Challenges of Accommodating Neurological Difference””, Canadian Journal of Political Science, 2010, 45(4), 805-827

Orsini, M. and Smith, M., “Social Movements, Knowledge and Public Policy: The Case of Autism Activism in Canada and the U.S.”, Critical Policy Studies, 4(1), April 2010, 38-57

Orsini, M., “Contesting the Autistic Subject : Biological Citizenship and the Autism/Autistic Movement”, Critical Interventions in the Ethics of Health Care, Stuart Murray and Dave Holmes, London, Ashgate Publishing, 2009, 115-130

Orsini, M., “Hepatitis C and the Dawn of Biological Citizenship: Unravelling the Policy Implications”, Contesting Illness: Processes and Practices, in Pamela Moss and Kathy Teghtsoonian (eds.), Toronto, Buffalo, London, University of Toronto Press, 2008

Orsini, M., “Reframing Medical Injury? Viewing Tainted Blood Recipients as Victims of Cultural Injustice”, Social and Legal Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2, June 2007, pp. 241-258

Orsini, M and M. Smith, Critical Policy Studies , University of British Columbia Press, 2007

Orsini, M. and Scala, F., “Every Virus Tells a Story: Toward a Narrative Centered Approach to Health Policy”, Policy and Society, Vol. 25, Issue 2, 2006, pp. 109-130

Orsini, M., “From Community Run to Community Based? Exploring the Dynamics of Civil Society-State Transformation in Urban Montreal”, Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 15(1), 2006, pp. 22-40

Laforest, R., Orsini, M., “Evidence Based Engagement in the Voluntary Sector: Lessons from Canada”, Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 39(5), October 2005, pp. 481-497

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