Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Professor Mark Priestley

Professor of Disability Policy

I am currently Head of School of Sociology and Social Policy.

In addition to my research and teaching in the School, I am also Scientific Director of the European Commission's Academic Network of European Disability experts (ANED) and administrator of the international online discussion forum disability-research. From 2004 to 2007 I was previously Pro-dean for Research in the Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law.

Research Interests

My research interests include international, especially European, perspectives on disability and public policy. I am particularly interested in research that links social, political and economic inequalities with the political claims of the disabled people's movement, and with methods of evidencing the progressive realization of rights for disabled people in different societies.


I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and have been teaching since 1986. I currently convene the Level 3 module 'Disability Rights in the International Policy Context' and provide guest lectures on undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

PhD Supervision

I supervise a lively group of PhD students, whose research projects vary considerably but are all in some way connected with critical disability studies. My particular supervisory interests are in student projects that contribute to the understanding and application of disability policy, particularly in European or international comparison.

Key Publications


Shah, S. and Priestley, M. (2011) Disability and Social Change: private lives and public policies, Policy Press

Priestley, M. (2003) Disability: a life course approach, Polity.

Journal Articles

Lawson, A. and Priestley, M. (2013) Potential, principle and pragmatism in concurrent multi-national monitoring: disability rights in the European Union, International Journal of Human Rights [available online]

Priestley, M. (2012) ‘Disability policies and the Open Methods of Co-ordination’, in Quinn, G. and Waddington, L. (eds) European Yearbook of Disability Law, Volume 3, pp. 7-34

Priestley, M., Waddington, L. and Bessozi, C. (2010) New priorities for disability research in Europe: Towards a user-led agenda, ALTER, Revue européenne de recherche sur le handicap, 4(4): 239-255

Priestley, M., Waddington, L. and Bessozi, C. (2010) Towards an agenda for disability research in Europe: learning from disabled people's organisations, Disability & Society, 25(6): 731-746

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