Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Dr Angharad Beckett

Associate Professor of Political Sociology

Following undergraduate studies at Durham University I studied for my PhD at the University of Sheffield.  Prior to my arrival at Leeds in 2007, I had been a lecturer at the Universities of Nottingham and Durham.

My central concern is the conceptualisation and exploration of the steps required to establish conditions within society that enable people to be active citizens and to play a full part in the development of just and sustainable societies. Funded research includes the ESRC grant (as PI): 'Disability Equality in English Primary Schools' (completed 2009) and the Leverhulme Grant (as Co-I) 'Designing for Inclusive Play: facilitating meaningful play between disabled and non-disabled children'. The latter research project involves collaboration with colleagues in Engineering. I am keen to develop interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to issues of social concern.  

I was the founder, and between 2006-2013, convenor of the joint BSA/SPA Study Group for the Sociology of Social & Public Policy. I am currently a member of the Centre for Disability Studies and member of the Executive Committee for the Centre for Health, Technologies and Social Practice.

I am a founding member of the White Rose Studies in Ableism collaboration with colleagues at the universities of Sheffield and York.

Recently I have become a member of the management committee of an International and transdisciplinary Cost Action, representing the UK in this regard. This EU funded project entitled: Play for Children with Disabilities (LUDI) aims to increase awareness of the importance of providing disabled children with the opportunity to play and ensuring equity in their exercise of the right to play. Information regarding this network can be found at: http://www.cost.eu/TD1309

Research Interests

My core research interests are as follows:

(1) Theorising citizenship and the nature of social and political engagement.

(2) Understanding social movements and practices of resistance.

(3) Disability Politics.

(4) Anti-oppressive education/pedagogy, in particular ‘post-conventional’ pedagogies.

I am also interested in developments in Social Theory, in particular the ‘Practice Turn’ and innovations in qualitative methodology and methods.


My teaching focuses upon Citizenship Theory, Disability Studies, Social Theory and  Qualitative Research Methods. I currently convene the undergraduate (UG) level 2 core Social Theory module entitled 'Central Problems in Sociology' and the UG level 3 module 'Citizenship, Identity & Social Change'. I also contribute to teaching on the MA Social Research and MA Disability Studies.

PhD Supervision

I am interested in supervising promising PhD students in the following areas.

  • Citizenship Studies - theoretical and/or empirical investigations and explorations.
  • Social Movement Studies - again, theoretical and/or empirical studies.
  • Disability Politics in the UK or elsewhere..
  • Studies in Ableism.
  • Anti-oppressive education/pedagogy.

Current PhD students

I currently supervise the following PhD students - many of whom have been successful in achieving competitive awards to fund their PhD research:

  • Natasha Barnes1: 'Exploring the Organisation of Emotion' (a Goffmanesque study). (University of Leeds Teaching Bursary)
  • Tiffany Boulton2: Understanding 'Contested' Chronic Illness: A Case Study of the In/Visibility of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) in the UK and Canada. (SSHRC funded)
  • Deborah Fenney3: Disabled people and pro-environmental behaviour: sustainability and accessibility. (ESRC funded)
  • Nicola Horsley4: Citizenship Education, Equality and Diversity: exploring responses to citizenship education in English state secondary schools. (ESRC CASE Studentship in collaboration with The Citizenship Foundation, London)
  • Anne-Marie Moore5: Together Through Play Project: Facilitating Meaningful Play Between Disabled and Non-disabled Children. (Leverhulme Funded)
  • Monika Toth: Communicating Disability Issues in Hungary. (University of Leeds Research Scholarship).
  • Emily Webb: An exploration of Gypsy and Traveller activism in the UK. (ESRC funded)
  • Donna Yates: Working across agency boundaries: parents with learning disabilities. (ESRC funded)

I am delighted to announce that in 2013, one of my students Rob Rhodes-Kubaik successfully completed his PhD. The topic for his thesis was: The history and development of human rights movements in south-east Europe: a case study of LGBT social movements in Serbia.

Key Publications


Beckett, A. (2006) Citizenship and Vulnerability: disability and issues of social and political engagement, Palgrave Macmillan. Please click here to see a video of Angharad talking about this book.

Journal Articles

Beckett, A.E. and Campbell, T. (2015) 'The Social Model of Disability as an Oppositional Device', Disability and Society, 30 (2), pp. 270-283.

Beckett, A.E. (2014) ‘Anti-oppressive Pedagogy and Disability: Challenges and Possibilities’, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 17(1), pp.76-94.

Beckett, A.E. (2013) ‘Non-disabled children’s ideas about disability and disabled people’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 35 (6), pp. 856-875.

Beckett, A.E. and Buckner, L. (2012) 'Promoting positive attitudes towards disabled people: definition of, rationale and prospects for anti-disablist education', British Journal of Sociology of Education,

 33 (6), pp. 873-891.

Beckett, A., Ellison, N., Barrett, S. and Shah, S. (2010) 'Away with the Fairies? Disability within primary-age children's literature', Disability and Society, 25 (3), pp. 373-386.

Beckett, A.E. (2009) 'Challenging disabling attitudes, building an inclusive society: considering the role of education in encouraging non-disabled children to develop positive attitudes towards disabled people', British Journal of Sociology of Education, 30(3).

Beckett, A. (2006) Understanding Social Movements: theorising the disability movement in conditions of late modernity. The Sociological Review, 54(4), pp.734-752.

Beckett, A. (2005) Reconsidering citizenship in the light of the concerns of the UK disability movement. Citizenship Studies, 9(4), pp.405-421.

Research Reports

Priestley, M., Pearson, S., Beckett, A. and Woodin, S. (2010) ANED country report on equality of educational and training opportunities for young disabled people, Academic Network of European Disability experts (ANED).

Beckett, Angharad et al (2009). Disability Equality in English Primary Schools: exploring teaching about disability equality and non-disabled children's perceptions of disability: Full Research Report ESRC End of Award Report, RES-062-23-0461. Swindon: ESRC.

Conference Papers

Holt, R., Moore, A-M. and Beckett, A.E. (2012) Together Through Play: Facilitating Meaningful Play for Disabled & Non-Disabled Children through Participatory DesignIDC 2012, Bremen, Germany.


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