Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Contact Details

  • Room: 11.12, Social Sciences Building
  • Tel: 0113 343 4414
  • Fax:0 113 343 4415
  • Email:

Professor Colin Barnes

Emeritus Professor of Disability Studies

As a disabled person and special school survivor I have been involved with the disabled people’s movement throughout my academic career. I am a member of several local, national and international organisations controlled and run by disabled people. I established the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS) as the British Council of Organisations of Disabled People’s (BCODP’s) Disability Research Unit (DRU) here in the School of Sociology and Social Policy in 1990 and was its Director until 2008. I also founded the independent publisher: The Disability Press in 1996 and an electronic archive of writings on disability issues: The Disability Archive UK in 1999.

To-date the Disability Press has published ten edited collections and two sole authored items: one research report and one novel.  The Disability Archive is a freely available resource containing over 900 items including books, monographs, journal articles, research reports and polemics. The Archive is periodically expanded to include relevant items as and when they become available. 

I am also an Invited member of Adjunct Faculty, Critical Disability Studies Programme, York University, Toronto, Canada – from 1998.

Research Interests

My research interests include the following.

  • Theories of disability
  • Social policy and disabled people
  • Disability politics and culture
  • Inclusive education
  • Disability and the majority world
  • Emacipatory/participatory research methodologies and practice
  • Cultural studies and popular culture
  • Sociology of deviance

Key Publications

Selected Publications (since 2008)

1/ Books

BARNES, C. and MERCER, G. 2010: Exploring Disability, 2nd Edition, Cambridge: Polity..        

OLIVER, M.  BARNES, C. 2012: The New Politics of Disablement,  Tavistock: Palgrave/Macmillan (in press).       

Ii/ Refereed Journals

BARNES, C. 2008: ‘G’enerating Change: Disability Culture and Art’. Behinderung und Dritte Welt (Journal for Disability and International Development), 19 Jargang, Ausgabe 1. 4 -13.  

BARNES.  C. 2010: ‘Disability in a Majority World Context: a materialist account, International Journal of Disability Studies, Vol. 4. Nos. (1-2), 7 – 30.

OLIVER, M. and BARNES, C. 2008: “Talking about us without us?’ A response to Neil Crowther.  Disability and Society, 23 (4) 397 – 400.      

PRIDEAUX,  S., ROULSTONE,  A. HARRIS,  J. and  BARNES, C. 2009: ‘Disabled people and self directed support schemes: re-conceptualising work and welfare in the 21st century’. Disability and Society, 24 (5) 557 – 570.

BARNES,  A. and  SHELDON, 2010: ‘Disability, politics and poverty in a majority world context, Disability and Society, 25 (7) 771 –782 

Iii/ Parts of books

BARNES, C. 2009: 'Un Chiste Malo: rehabilitar a las personas con decapacidad en una sociedad que discapacita?'. In Brogna, P. (ed.) Visiones y Revisiones de la Discapicidad, Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Economica, pp. 101 - 122.

BARNES, C. 2010: ’A Brief History of Discrimination and Disabled People’, in L.J. Davis, (ed.) The Disability Studies Reader: Third Edition. London: Routledge, pp. 20 - 32.

BARNES, C.  MERCER, G. and SHAKESPEARE , T. 2010: ‘The Social Model of Disability’. In A. Giddens and P.W. Sutton (eds.) Sociology: Introductory Readings, 3rd Edition, Cambrige: Polity pp. 161 - 166.

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