Social Change and Wellbeing (SCWB)

Critical Community and Disability Studies Research Group


Members: Caton, Duckett, Gardener, Goldbart, Goodley, Jones, Kagan, Lawthom, Marshall, Mitchell, Siddiquee, Sixsmith

Contact person: Dan Goodley

Disability research has a long history of association with researchers in RIHSC. This strand consolidates this tradition by developing theoretical, political and analytical engagement with emancipatory understandings of disablement and disability activism. It hosts the Internationally-distributed monthly newsletter of the British Disability Studies Association, organised the first of a new annual, inter-disciplinary, cross-institutional seminar series ‘Disability, Discourse and Community Psychology’ and continues to develop research with disabled people’s organisations both nationally and internationally.

Projects also aim to broaden analyses of disability and impairment through drawing upon other minority writings such as feminisms, critical race and queer theory. Funding has been received from the ESRC and the ESF and there are strong links with Health, Rehabilitation and Psychology research centre in RIHSC.


(a) Work, services and community
The relationship between work, nation, citizenship and activism is taken up in this area of disability studies, where researchers work with the ambitions of disabled people in order to understand aspects of civil society and disability politics. This work has a particular international focus in that it aims to connect with the citizenship experiences and conceptions in different countries and develop analyses which are sensitive to dilemmas of colonialisation and globalisation.

Project example:
Promoting self-advocacy in the
Malaysia . This project builds on work undertaken by Goodley and Lawthom on self-advocacy, community psychology in collaboration with organisations in Penang , Kuala Lumpur , Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Penang .
Contact Dan Goodley.

Project example:
Prefigurative action research developing health services for disabled children in slum areas of Kolkata -
A DIfD funded project sought to work in an interdisciplinary way, through health projects already based in the slums of Kolkata, in order to develop the skills and understanding necessary to support disabled children.
Contact Juliet Goldbart

Jobs not Charity: Promoting Disabled People’s Access to the Labour Market and the Role of Organisations of Disabled People – A European Social Fund project in association with Breakthrough UK Ltd and Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People.
Visit and contact Dan Goodley.

Research projects under development:

Promoting community psychology and disability studies in Malaysia . This project builds on work undertaken by Goodley and Lawthom on self-advocacy, community psychology in collaboration with organisations in Penang , Kuala Lumpur , Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Penang .
Contact Dan Goodley.

(b) Disability, theory and inclusion
The work in this research area underpins the activities of other areas of the strand through an inter-related consideration of advocacy, politics and theory. Much of the work here draws upon the personal/political involvement of researchers – as well as funded research activities – through which the authenticity of theory and practice are evaluated. There is a specific focus on developing responsive forms of critical and community psychologies.

Project example:
Advocacy and community living –
explores some of the contradictions in moving to services which aim to promote community living.
Contact Carolyn Kagan.

Project example:
Self-advocacy and people with learning difficulties –
draws on involvement with the support of people with learning difficulties and their participation in self-advocacy groups.
Contact Dan Goodley.

Project example:
Making connections between disability studies and critical / community psychologies –
relates to an ongoing project by researchers which underpins much of the theoretical work of the strand.
Contact Dan Goodley.

Project example:
Theorising structure and agency in relation to deafness -

Contact Sue Jones

Research projects under development:

Promoting the self-advocacy for users of Seroxet outline research bid put in by P. Duckett, May 2007.
Contact Paul Duckett

(c) Critical professionals and disability
This emerging area aims to examine and articulate the relationship between c ritical pedagogy, different forms of professional practice and training. A key aim of this area is to study and promote a new form of professional engagement with disabled people: what Vic Finkelstein refers to as the ‘professional allied to the community’. This concept has remained a purely theoretical concept. Therefore, in order to consider its applicability, three projects are planned for 2007 supported by the appointment of a new Research Associate post in RIHSC (by December 2007).

Projects in development:

Teachers develop transformative ideas around disability and practice – an exploration of the realities and ambitions of inclusion through the employment of idea(l)s adapted from pedagogies of hope.
Contact Dan Goodley.

Developing insights from critical pedagogy into the training of nurses – with a specific focus on those nurses specialising in care for children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Contact Dan Goodley.

Professional allied to the community – two projects to be developed (1) in conjunction with Breakthrough UK Ltd, Manchester and (2) with colleagues at the University of Sydney
Contact Dan Goodley.