Dr Gareth M. Thomas

Dr Gareth M. Thomas

Lecturer in Sociology

+44(0) 29 2087 9675
2.35, Glamorgan Building

I was appointed as Lecturer in Sociology in 2015. I am a sociologist interested in (among other things) medical encounters, health and illness/wellbeing, disability, genetics and the family, stigma, risk, health technologies and ethics, reproduction, community, ethnography, and qualitative methods. My research and teaching is theoretically engaged, drawing largely on the work of Erving Goffman and Michel Foucault, in particular, as well as the principles of interactionism, science and technology studies (STS), ethnomethodology, and anthropological theory.

I am also Co-Convenor of the Medicine, Science and Culture Research Group (MeSC) and Co-Book Reviews Editor for the Sociology of Health and Illness journal.

Honours and awards

  • Visiting fellowship at the University of Canberra to conduct a study with Professor Deborah Lupton on women's use of 'digital media' during pregnancy and early parenthood. Awarded by the University of Canberra (2015)
  • Winner of the Council on Anthropology and Reproduction Graduate Student Paper Award for 'Douglas, dirt, and Down syndrome: classifying a complex condition in UK antenatal care' (2014)
  • Honorary Mention for the SSSI Herbert Blumer Graduate Student Paper Award for 'Cooling the mother out: revising and revisiting Goffman's account' (2013)

Professional memberships

  • British Sociological Association (Disability Group; Early Career Forum; Human Reproduction Study Group; Medical Sociology Special Interest Group; Medical Sociology Wales; Science and Technology Studies Group; Sports Study Group)
  • American Anthropological Association
  • Society for Medical Anthropology
  • Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction
  • Member of the following Cardiff University groups and networks: Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Wellbeing (CISHeW); Centre for Ethics and Social Aspects of Genomics and Epigenetics (CESAGene); Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD); Culture, Imagination and Practice Research Group (CIP); SOCSI Social Theory Forum (STF); Ethnography, Culture and Interpretive Analysis Research Group (ECI); CESAGene Journal Club; Fertility, Pregnancy and Development Research Network (FPD).

Previous academic positions

  • Research Associate (Cardiff University, 2014-2015)
  • PhD in Sociology (Cardiff University, 2010-2015)

Speaking engagements

Invited Presentations (Most Recent)

  • The digitised pregnant body. Pregnancy, Parenting and Digital Media, University of Canberra, Australia, 27 June 2015 
  • An ethnographic study of prenatal screening for Down's syndrome: reflections on findings and the challenges of sensitive research. SAPPHIRE, University of Leicester, 23 February 2015 
  • 'Everything's data, darling': an ethnography of screening for Down's syndrome in antenatal care. Researching Human Reproduction: Methodological and Ethical Aspects. De Montfort University, 5 December 2014 

Conference Presentations (Most Recent) 

  • Sticky reputations: young peoples' negotiation of stigma and place in a post-industrial community. American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. Chicago Hilton, Illinois, 24 August 2015 
  • Picture perfect: 4D ultrasound and the commoditisation of the private prenatal clinic. American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. Chicago Hilton, Illinois, 23 August 2015 
  • The Organization of Care: How Professionals Perform, Routinize, and Downgrade Screening for Down Syndrome in the Prenatal Clinic. Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction Annual Conference 2015. The Public Chicago Hotel, Illinois, 22 August 2015 
  • 'Hands-Off Work': How Professionals Routinize Prenatal Screening for Down Syndrome in the Clinic. SKAT25: New Directions After a Quarter-Century of the Sociology of Science, Knowledge, and Technology. Chicago Prentice Women's Hospital, Illinois, 21 August 2015 
  • Having a hard(d) time? Young peoples' experiences of safety, regulation, and place in a marginalised South Wales community. Pacific Sociology Association Annual Conference. Hyatt Regency Long Beach, California, 4 April 2015 
  • In/exclusion in the clinic: Down's syndrome, dysmorphology, and the ethics of everyday care (with Joanna Latimer). BSA Medical Sociology 46th Annual Conference. Aston University, 11 September 2014 
  • Odd man out: the male researcher studying a female-dominated hospital setting. BSA Medical Sociology 46th Annual Conference. Aston University, 11 September 2014 
  • Expectant parents, expecting perfection: constructing Down's syndrome in British antenatal care. XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology Conference. Pacifico Yokohama, Japan, 14 July 2014

I am interested in teaching on medical encounters, disability, care, reproduction, risk, technology, stigma, exclusion, health and illness, community, theory, and ethnographic methods. Modules I have taught on include:

  • Advanced Sociology of Health, Medicine and Illness
  • The Body, Health and Medicine
  • Introduction to Social Science Research Methods

My research interests lie broadly across the fields of medical encounters, stigma, genetics and the family, health technologies, interaction, community, and disability. I was previously employed as a Research Associate on the ESRC-funded 'Productive Margins: Regulating for Engagement' project. This involved working collaboratively with academics, artists, and community organisers/members to map young peoples' experiences of health and wellbeing, regulation, and place. My ESRC-funded PhD study was an ethnography of prenatal screening for Down's syndrome. This will be the basis for a forthcoming monograph 'Prenatal Testing and the Politics of Reproduction: An Ethnography of Down's Syndrome Screening' (working title) to be published by Routledge in the series 'Routledge Studies in the Sociology of Health and Illness'.