Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Contact Details

Professor Mark Priestley

Professor of Disability 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. I was previously Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy (2011-2014), and Pro-dean for Research in the Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (2004-2007). During 2015 I will be away from the University on sabbatical research leave, primarily as Visiting Professor at the National University of Ireland Galway.

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. My current research involves mixed and comparative methods, often involving policy analysis and indicator development.


I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and have been teaching adults since 1986. I currently convene the Level 3 module 'Disability Rights in the International Policy Context' and the MA level module ‘Issues in Social Policy Analysis and Research’. I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations and contribute guest lectures on courses in disability studies.

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.

In addition to the research students listed on the right I also co-supervise Ana Laura Aiello.

Key Publications


  • Shah S, Priestley M, Disability and social change: private lives and public policies (Bristol: Policy Press, 2011)

  • Priestley M, Disability: a life course approach (Oxford : Polity, 2003), [vii], 248 pp

  • Priestley M, Disability and the Life Course: global perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2001), 272 pp.

  • Priestley M, Disability Politics and Community Care (Jessica Kingsley, 1999), 256p

Journal articles

  • Priestley M, Stickings M, Loja E, Grammenos S, Lawson A, Waddington L, Fridriksdottir B, ‘The political participation of disabled people in Europe: Rights, accessibility and activism’, Electoral Studies, 42 (2016), 1-9
    DOI: 10.1016/j.electstud.2016.01.009, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/94068/

  • Lawson A, Priestley M, ‘Potential, principle and pragmatism in concurrent multi-national monitoring: disability rights in the European Union’, The International Journal of Human Rights, 17.7-8 (2013), 739-757
    DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2013.834494, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81256/

  • Priestley M, Waddington L, Bessozi C, ‘New priorities for disability research in Europe: towards a user-led agenda’, ALTER: European Journal of Disability Research / Revue Européenne de Recherche sur le Handicap, 4.4 (2010), 239-255
    DOI: 10.1016/j.alter.2010.07.001, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/82525/

  • Priestley M, Waddington L, Bessozi C, ‘Towards a User-led Agenda for Disability Research in Europe: learning from disabled people’s organisations’, Disability & Society 2010, 731-746
    DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2010.505749

  • Priestley M, ‘In search of European disability policy: Between national and global’, ALTER: European Journal of Disability Research/Revue européenne de recherche sur le handicap, 1.1 (2007), 61-74
    DOI: 10.1016/j.alter.2007.08.006, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/86912/

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