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FDH3005 Models on Disability 2.0 credits

The course aim to create an understanding of how different theoretical models can be used to explain concepts such as "disability" and "impairment" and why there is a need to create new concepts such as "functional" variation" and "functional right".

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus FDH3005 (Autumn 2019–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

When working with functional variation issues, the concepts you use are important. Several concepts can be perceived as degrading or even offensive. For this reason some terms are no longer used, such as disabled or invalid. The course will go through different conceptual models that describe and explain disability (eg Medical, Social, Relational, Biopsychosocial, Capacity). It will touch on the differences between concepts such as disability versus impairment, it will also discuss the issues linked to concepts such as disability as power relations and stigma. What concepts are used have also come to be associated with the view of functional variation in society and how the persons concerned should be handled, from institutionalization and assessment that one is incapable of working to being regarded as having the same rights as any other citizen in society.

Course structure


Course literature

  1. Swain J, French S, Barnes C, Thomas C, editors. Disabling Barriers - Enabling Environments. 3rd edition. Sage; 2014.
  2. Thomas C. Theorising disability and chronic illness: Where next for perspectives in medical sociology. Soc Theory Heal. 2012;10:209–28.
  3. Oliver M. Understanding Disability, From Theory to Practice. London: Macmillan; 1996.
  4. Barnes C. Understanding the Social Model of Disability: Past, precent and future. In: Routledge handbook of disability studies. Routledge; 2013. p. 26–43.
  5. Nussbaum MC. Social Justice and Universalism: In Defense of an Aristotelian Account of Human Functioning. Mod Philol. 1993;90:46–73.
  6. Nussbaum M. Capabilities as Fundamental Entitlements: Sen and Social Justice. Fem Econ. 2003;9:33–59.
  7. Garland-Thomson R. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. Columbia University Press; 1996

Intended learning outcomes

The student is expected to be able to:

  • Describe different models of disability from Medical domains, Sociological domains, Technical domains and Disability research
  • Be able to account for touching concepts such as disability, disability and disability and know under what conditions which can be used
  • Know what the law prescribes about discrimination as a result of impairment

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

PhD student

Recommended prerequisites

DM3514 Research methods in Media Technology and Human Computer Interaction


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No information inserted

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • EXA1 - Examination, 2.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Written essay

Other requirements for final grade

Approval of written essay

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Profile picture Jan Gulliksen

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web FDH3005

Offered by

EECS/Media Technology and Interaction Design

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Jan Gulliksen (

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at EECS/Media Technology and Interaction Design