module specification

SS6050 - Current Issues in Disability (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Current Issues in Disability
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
20 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
85 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Report
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

The module aims to focus on the competing and contested nature of the concept of “disability” and the implications it has on community development, social policies and practice. It examines disability as a new social movement together with the ‘modernist’ and post-modern discourses around disability that informs much of the social policy provisions and community practice today. The module considers the radical transformation of the ways in which disability is understood - informed by the Disability Rights Movements of the 70s and 80s in the UK, and enables students to engage in a culture of debates and reflective practice that are critical and therefore increasingly required for effective community work.

Module aims
The module aims to:
1. Provide students with a foundation for understanding and analysing disability related issues in the context of current welfare policies and practices.
2. Enable students to grasp the principles of the social model of disability and its implications for social policy and community development.
3. Provide students with an understanding of the dynamics of the experiences of having a disability and its interaction with other aspects of identity particularly gender and ethnicity.


1. Understanding disability (and impairment), social interpretation of disability; disablism. (Medical, psychological and socio/political) LO1
2. From Disability Rights Movements to Independent Living Movement LO1
3. Social Model of Disability LO1
4. Identity, difference and disability – implications for community development LO2
5. Intersectionality: how disability interacts with other facets of social lives (focus on ethnicity and gender). LO2
6. Dependency and independence: ‘parasite’ or comrade professionals? LO2
7. Disability and community development – how understanding of disability articulates with varying social cultural norms LO3
8. Researching disability (focusing on the experiences of disabled people): Using appropriate theoretical concepts and emancipatory methods. LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module will be taught by a weekly lecture of one hour duration with two hour seminar. The module will adopt a range of teaching and learning strategies including lectures, guest speakers, group work, reflections, presentations, visits and independent supported learning. A student-centred approach will be adopted involving an independent supported learning environment.
In addition to the classroom sessions, students will be able to interact with each other reflecting on their own learning and experiences and also carry out on-line activities such as quizzes and interactive exercises.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Articulate an understanding of a historical perspective of the development of disability movement within wider rights movement/discourses. (LO1)
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the key issues and current debates on disability and welfare policy focusing on inclusion and exclusion discourses. (LO2)
3. Analyse the complex experiences of disabled people and the impact it has on their lives & society, particularly how disability interacts with gender and ethnicity. (LO3)

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed by producing one piece of work (workbook 3000 words). This will give students an opportunity to reflect on their academic learning. Credit will be given for being able to blend an understanding of real life experiences with academic and theoretical considerations. The word limit excludes bibliography and references


Key Texts:
Barnes, C & Mercer, G (2010) Exploring Disability, 2nd Edition: Polity Press
Davis, L. (eds) (2013) The Disability Studies Reader, 4th Edition, Routledge
Dwyer, Peter (2004) Understanding Social Citizenship, Bristol, Policy Press
Goodley, D. (2011) Disability studies: an interdisciplinary introduction London:
Harris, J. & Roulstone, A. (2010) Disability, Policy and Professional Practice, Sage
Swain, J., French, S., Barnes, C. and Thomas, C. eds., (2013) Disabling barriers-enabling environments. Sage.
Additional Texts:
Ahmad, W. I. U. (eds) 2000: Ethnicity, Disability and Chronic Illness, Buckingham: Buckingham.
Berthoud, R., Lakey, J. and McKay, S., (1993) The economic problems of disabled people (Vol. 759). Policy Studies Institute.
Beckett, A.E. (2006) Understanding Social Movements: theorising the disability movement in conditions of late modernity, The Sociological Review, 54:4 (2006)
Burchardt, T. (2000) Enduring economic exclusion: Disabled people, income and work, JRF Report, York: York publishing services
Ferrie, J., Lerpiniere, J., Paterson, K., Pearson, C. Stalker, K. and Watson, N. (2008) * Sage.Hales,G. (1996) Beyond Disability. Towards an Enabling Society. London: Sage
Fernando, S., 2010. Mental health, race and culture. Palgrave Macmillan.
McKnight, J. (1995) The Careless Society: Community and its Counterfeits New York: Basic Books
Morris, J. (2004) Independent living and community care: a disempowering framework Disability & Society Vol. 19 (5) 427-442ODI - In-Depth Examination of the Implementation of the Disability Equality Duty in England: Report to the Office for Disability Issues London: Department for Work and Pensions
Oliver, M. (2009) Understanding Disability: from Theory to Practice, second edition. London: Palgrave MacMillan.
Priestley, M. (1999) Disability Politics and Community Care. London: Jessica Kingsley
Roulstone, A. and Prideaux, S., (2012) Understanding disability policy. Policy Press.
Shakespeare, T (1996) The Disability Reader: Social Science Perspectives. Continuum
Online resources:
Disability Archive UK:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation:
Office for Disability Issues:
Department of Health and Social Care:
Disability Alliance
Mental Health Foundation:
King’s Fund

Disability and Society
Ageing and Society