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Sociology: Culture & Identity – Disability & Society With Dr Tom Porter From University of East Anglia

7th November 2022 @ 14:00 - 14:45

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Dr Tom Porter, Lecturer in Sociology from University of East Anglia will present Disability and Society (Culture and Identity).

When we think about disability, what sort of images – which kind of people – spring to mind? Perhaps positive images – stories of individuals overcoming their disability, or Paralympian heroes, and people triumphing over tragedy.  Just as common are more troubling ideas – disability as loss, stories of hardship and of struggle.

Asking what disability means – questioning the images, stories and narratives disability signifies – provides a window onto the meaning of disability within our culture. This matters because culture shapes not only how we think about disability, but also how society responds to disability, meaning culture plays a key role in determining the life chances and opportunities of disabled people.

Culture is also central to identity. Research has shown that most people who live with illness or impairments do not see themselves as being ‘a disabled person’. This begs the question, what does it mean to say that someone is disabled? Some assume that disability means having a faulty body; others argue that disability is caused not by the body, but rather is the product of a disabling society.

This session will introduce disability as a sociological phenomenon, with a key focus on issues of culture and identity.


Lecturer Profile (Please Click): Dr Tom Porter



Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.

As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but slides and other resources will be shared after the event, where available.


Suitable for: Year 12 & 13 students (and equivalent) studying, or with a possible interest in studying, Sociology and related disciplines. Student groups, and individual students and teachers are very welcome to join us.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: The session requires no prior knowledge, just bring an open and enquiring mind. Students may wish to consider the topic and discuss some of the key elements in advance. Students can also think about questions they have about studying Sociology at university level.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Bluejeans (similar to Zoom) and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below:

Register here


7th November 2022
14:00 - 14:45
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