Joel Izlar (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0+)

From the climate crisis to eco-austerity, ecosocial problems are at the forefront of the world’s collective consciousness. Oppressed, marginalized, and vulnerable populations and communities have been experiencing its worst effects. Now, ecosocial crises are glocalized (globally and locally interconnected and interdependent) where the actions of one community directly affect another across the globe. The interconnectedness provided by ecosocial crises are dividing us, but also uniting us.

Crises are causing extreme grief and anxiety, but also catalyzing perspectives of hope that are being built upon to imagine socially just, healthy, and peaceful ecological societies. My scholarship is rooted in such hope and possibility. My research rests at the intersections of community work, organizing community, mutual aid, and ecosocial welfare.

My work is informed by the belief that the root causes of ecological problems are social problems and that the only way to solve ecological problems is to address the root causes of social problems. In my inquiries I seek to (1) examine how communities address ecosocial problems as they relate to glocalization, eco-austerity, ecosocial injustice, and systems of oppression, domination, and phobias of, and violence toward, human difference; (2) publish freely accessible, relevant, useful, understandable, and translatable theory, models, and methods; (3) strengthen community work research and methods, practitioners, as well as communities; and (4) promote the principles and values of community, mutual aid, empathy, feeling, understanding, sociality, self-determination, direct democracy, peace, hope, healing, and ecosocial justice.

I am drawn to investigating meaning, understanding, essence, nuance, and connection through qualitative research. My research methods highlight multiple ways of knowing, feeling, doing, and understanding.

I primarily use qualitative case study analysis informed by critical constructionism, social ecology, and community organization practice theory. Even so, I believe these perspectives and methods may complement other orientations because ecosocial crises require a diversity of perspectives and approaches.

My current work explores how ecosocial functional communities concurrently operate as forms of ecosocial protest, mutual aid/social welfare, community work, organizing, and direct action in the 21st Century.


Izlar, J. (Forthcoming, 2021). The new social services: Organising community during ecosocial health crises. In P. Fronek & K. S. Rotabi, Social work in health emergencies: A global perspective. Routledge.

Izlar, J. (In Preparation, 2021). Bring what you can, take what you need: Really Really Free Markets and alternative social welfare.

Robinson, M. A., & Izlar, J., & Oliver, A. (2020). Opportunity beckons: A case for community practice within the classroom. Journal of Community Practice. doi: 10.1080/10705422.2020.1716426

Izlar, J. (2019). Radical social welfare and anti-authoritarian mutual aid. Critical and Radical Social Work, 7(3), 349–366. doi: 10.1332/204986019X15687131179624

Izlar, J. (2019). Local-global linkages: Challenges in organizing functional communities for ecosocial justice. Journal of Community Practice, 27(3-4). 369–387. doi: 10.1080/10705422.2019.1657536

Izlar, J. (2019). The case for prefigurative feminist community organizing. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 30(1), 1–10. doi: 10.1080/10428232.2019.1575089

Miller, S. E., Hayward, R. A., & Izlar, J. (2016). The place for a global and holistic environment: International challenges and opportunities for social work education in the 21st Century. In I. Taylor, M. Bogo, M. Lefevre, & B. Teater (Eds.). The Routledge International handbook of social work education. Routledge.



Izlar, J. (2018). Re-using and Recycling Old Computers for Fun and Nonprofit. Panelist at the HOPE Conference, New York City, NY.

Izlar, J. (2017). #RESIST™: The Case for Prefigurative Feminist Community Organizing in the Age of Trump. Paper presentation at the 7th Annual Women & Girls in Georgia Conference, Athens, GA.

Izlar, J. (2017). Prefiguring the Future: Transcending the Nonprofit Industrial Complex. Paper presentation at the 1st Annual Social Justice Symposium, Athens, GA.


Izlar, J. (2018). Direct Action, Direct Services, and Back Again: Functional Community Organizing and Community Change. Paper presentation at the International Institute for Restorative Practices “Strengthening the Spirit of Community” World Conference, Detroit, MI.

Izlar, J. (2018). Self-Worth and Environmental Engagement: The Case for Project-Based Community Organizing. Poster presentation at the 22nd Annual Society for Social Work and Research Conference, Washington, DC.

Izlar, J. (2017). Radical Social Welfare and Anti-Authoritarian Mutual Aid. Paper presentation at the 67th Annual Society for the Study of Social Problems Conference, Montréal, Canada.

Izlar, J. (2015). Praxis of the Pariah: What Does Radical Social Work Mean Today? Paper presentation at the 61st Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Denver, CO.

Izlar, J. (2015). Grassroots Community Organizing. Paper presentation at the 15th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Izlar, J. (2012). Digital Justice: How Technology and Free Software Can Build Communities and Help Close the Digital Divide. Paper presentation at Libreplanet, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA.

If you would like to support my work, you can contribute through Liberapay or BTC: bc1q5sjlhltwane9v2y7cystfu30zqlv37mz0eycwg