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 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). I am a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and adjunct Visiting Professor at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Research Interests

My research interests include international and comparative perspectives on disability and public policy, notably in Europe, and also issues of policy process, monitoring and governance, for example in relation to international human rights policies. 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 oversee the School’s programme coordination for the BA Social Policy, MA in Social and Public Policy, and the Masters in Public Administration. I currently convene the Level 2 module Key Debates in Social Policy and the Level 3 module Disability Rights in the International Policy Context, as well as teaching on postgraduate modules in social policy analysis and disability studies. I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations.

PhD Supervision

I supervise a lively group of PhD students, whose research projects vary considerably but are all in some way connected with disability policy and/or 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, 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

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