Undergraduate Module Descriptor

SOC3087: Disability and Society

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Michael Schillmeier (Lecturer)





Available via distance learning


Disability – while commonly thought of as medical in nature – is a social topic that provides surprising insights into a range of sociological topics, from social institutions to social identities, to the ethically contentious (e.g., many issues in the realm of reproduction and end of life) to the highly topical (e.g. are the obese disabled? should schools be inclusive?). In this module you will examine disability in its historical context, and the rise - and social and cultural impacts - of critical disability politics. You will look across cultures at how normality and deviance are understood, produced and controlled, and at what shapes the varieties of disability-related experiences of people across the world. You will examine questions of social inclusion and exclusion, independence and dependence, and the constructedness of both disability and ability. The course considers the changing social context and meanings of disability rather than analysing in detail specific disabilities, although particular disabilities may be focused on in the course of investigating issues such as stigma or independence.

The module is appropriate for students with some background in sociology or anthropology, although there are no pre-requisites. It stands well with other sociology and anthropology modules on health-related topics (SOC/ANTH3076, SOC/ANTH 3088), sport, war and conflict, and complements study in business, law, education, politics, and history (among other subjects).

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