Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Contact Details

Research Students

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


  • Oliver M, Barnes C, The New Politics of Disablement, 2nd (Tavistock: Palgrave, 2011)

  • Barnes C, Mercer G, Exploring Disability, 2nd (Cambridge: Polity, 2010)

Journal articles

  • Barnes C, Sheldon A, ‘Disability, Politics and Poverty in a Majority World Context’, Disability and Society, 25.7 (2010), 771-782
    DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2010.520889

  • Barnes C, ‘Disability in a Majority World Context: a materialist account’, International Journal of Disability Studies, 4.1-2 (2010), 7-30

  • Prideaux S, Roulstone A, Harris J, Barnes C, ‘Disabled people and self-directed support schemes: reconceptualising work and welfare in the 21st century’, DISABIL SOC, 24.5 (2009), 557-569
    DOI: 10.1080/09687590903010909

  • Oliver M, Barnes C, ‘Talking about us without us?'. A response to Neil Crowther’, DISABIL SOC, 23.4 (2008), 397-399
    DOI: 10.1080/09687590802051228, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/7936/

  • Barnes C, ‘Generating Change: Disability Culture and Art’, Behinderung und Dritte Welt (Journal for Disability and International Development), 19 (2008), 4-13


  • Barnes C, Mercer G, Shakespeare T, ‘The Social Model of Disability’, in Sociology: Introductory Readings, ed. by Giddens A and Sutton PW, 3rd (Cambridge: Polity, 2010), 161-167

  • Barnes C, ‘A Brief History of Discrimination and Disabled People’, in The Disability Studies Reader, ed. by Davis LJ, Third (London: Routledge, 2010), 20-32

  • Barnes C, ‘Un Chiste Malo: mrehabilitar a las personas con decapacidad en una sociedad que discapacita’, in Visiones y Revisiones de la Discapicidad, ed. by Brogna P (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 2009), 101-122

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