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2017/18 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP5414M Debates on Disability Theory and Research

30 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Angharad Beckett

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

Module replaces

SLSP5215 Theories and Definitions of Disability (Core Module for the PG Disability Studies Programme).

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should be able to:

a. evaluate critically the main currents of theorizing on disability emerging from within Disability Studies, past to present, including Marxist, Intersectional, Foucauldian and other ‘post-conventional’ perspectives;
b. engage critically with interdisciplinary approaches to theorizing disability from ‘literary studies’ and ‘legal studies’ (human rights perspectives);
c. understand core issues related to researching disability and distinct methodologies developed within the field of Disability Studies;
d. demonstrate and articulate the implications of different theoretical and methodological perspectives for research in the field of Disability Studies and for disability politics in the UK and/or internationally.

Skills outcomes
On completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate the following transferable skills:
a) research and reading skills (students are required to research, read and summarise material from a variety of sources: books, articles, internet, newspapers and other media).
b) IT skills (students are required to access and download material from the internet)
c) writing skills (students are required to produce informal and formal assignments)
d) referencing skills (students are required to use academic references in their written work)
d) debating skills (students are required to discuss and debate controversial issues in weekly seminars)
e) presentational skills (students are required to present a relevant topic for discussion at weekly seminars)
f) formal and informal networking skills (students are encouraged to network and liaise with each other during a specified period built into the module timetable).


In this module students will engage with the ‘Social Model Debates’, exploring this important ‘tool’ of disability activism and understanding its character and operations. They will learn about and engage critically with important currents of theorizing on disability including, Marxist, Feminist, Foucauldian, Intersectional, Crip Theory and ‘Studies in Ableism’.

Whilst the emphasis will be upon sociological approaches to disability, students will be introduced to interdisciplinary perspectives, including ‘literary/cultural’ perspectives and ‘human rights’ perspectives, providing them with valuable insights into the rich diversity of approaches that are furthering our understanding of disability and aiding in the fight for equality and social justice for disabled people.

The module will also encourage students to examine and evaluate recent debates and developments within social research on disability. This will include discussions of positivist, interpretative and 'emancipatory' methodologies, associated data collection and analytical strategies, and their significance for the ‘doing’ of disability research.

The general aim is to provide students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of theories and methodologies within Disability Studies and to encourage them to explore the implication of different approaches for the conduct of research in this field and for disability politics today.

In so doing this module provides a firm foundation for further studies in this field and for the conduct of empirical work into issues relating to disability.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours267.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Independent research, reading, essay plan (formative) and essay production.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminar participation, informal discussions, formative essay plan.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 6,000 word essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2017


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