Dr Gareth M. Thomas

Dr Gareth M. Thomas

Lecturer in Sociology

School of Social Sciences

Email:
thomasg23@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44(0) 29 2087 0945
Location:
2.35, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WT
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision

I am a sociologist interested in medicine, disability, stigma, reproduction, and place. My PhD was an ethnography of screening for Down's syndrome in two UK prenatal clinics. This research forms the basis of my first monograph Down's Syndrome Screening and Reproductive Politics: Care, Choice, and Disability in the Prenatal Clinic (2017, see here). I have also co-authored, with Dikaios Sakellariou, the edited collection Disability, Normalcy, and the Everyday (2018, see here).

I am co-convenor of the Medicine, Science and Culture Research Group (MeSC) at Cardiff University and co-books review editor and an editorial board member for Sociology of Health and Illness.

Current PhD Students
- Lydia Harper (ESRC Studentship, 2013-): An ethnographic study of leber hereditary optic neuropathy: exploring the experiences and perceptions of children, young adults and their families
- Eve Exley (ESRC Studentship, 2015-): Transgender experiences of imprisonment: impact, identity, and change
- Kim Dearing (ESRC Studentship, 2017-): How is employment policy deconstructed and assimilated by young people with an ID during the transitional phase of their education?
- Heather Wright (2014-): What are the experiences of English NHS managers, clinicians and patients of the National cancer waiting times targets?

Previous Appointments

  • Lecturer, Cardiff University, 2015-
  • Research Associate, Cardiff University, 2014-2015
  • Ph.D. Sociology, Cardiff University, 2014
  • M.Sc. Social Science Research Methods (Distinction), Cardiff University, 2010
  • Econ Sociology (First Class Honours), Cardiff University, 2009

Honours and awards

External Appointments

  • PhD external examiner for Ross Anderson (Monash University), 2018
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Authority, 2017
  • Editorial board for ‘Sociology of Health and Illness’, 2017-
  • Editorial board for ‘Frontiers’, 2016-
  • Book-reviews editor for ‘Sociology of Health and Illness’, 2014-2018

Awards, Bursaries, and Fellowships

  • The Sociological Review Writing Retreat, Gartmore, Scotland, 2017
  • Visiting Status – Staff Teaching Mobility, Peking University, China, 2017
  • Visiting fellowship at the University of Canberra, Australia, 2015
  • Bursary for 18th ISA World Congress of Sociology Conference. Awarded by the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness (£900), 2014
  • 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
  • Bursary for ESA Risk and Uncertainty Conference. Awarded by the European Sociological Association (£200), 2013
  • Honorary Mention for the Herbert Blumer Graduate Student Paper Award (Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction) for ‘Cooling the mother out: revising and revisiting Goffman’s account’, 2013
  • Bursary for BSA Medical Sociology Conference. Awarded by the BSA (£330), 2012

Research and Scholarship Grants

  • The Sociological Review Kick Start Grants (Principal Investigator, £4,195), 2018
  • Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness Workshop Support Grant (co-applicant, £3,000), 2017
  • SWDTC Academic-Led Collaboration Fund (co-applicant, £3,802), 2016
  • Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness Research Grant Development Award (co-applicant, £5,407), 2015
  • Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness Workshop Support Grant (co-applicant, £2,043), 2015
  • AHRC Connected Communities Festival (co-applicant, £5,000), 2015
  • AHRC Connected Communities Festival (co-applicant, £5,000), 2014
  • ESRC Doctoral Studentship (Principal Investigator, £53,418), 2010

Speaking engagements

Invited Talks

  • Down’s syndrome screening in the UK. St Andrew’s University Osaka, Japan, 23 September 2018
  • Down’s syndrome screening in the UK. Keio University, Japan, 17 September 2018
  • Doing ethnography in hospital settings: reflections on research design. Peking University, China, 11 November 2017
  • Down’s syndrome screening and reproductive politics. Peking University, China, 10 November 2017
  • Ethnography: the importance of being there. Peking University, China, 10 November 2017
  • Imaginaries of difference: disability publics. CareNet Research Group Seminar. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, 22 June 2017
  • Tracking the (risky) maternal body: pregnancy in a digital age. CareNet Research Group Seminar. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, 22 June 2017
  • Un/inhabitable worlds: the curious case of Down’s syndrome. Stony Brook University, New York, NY, USA, 4 April 2016
  • Down’s syndrome, disability publics, and reproductive medicine. City University of New York, New York, NY, USA, 30 March 2016
  • Prenatal testing and the politics of reproduction: an ethnography of Down’s syndrome screening. Lehman College – City University of New York, New York, USA, 30 March 2016
  • ‘Everything’s data, darling’: some reflections on doing hospital ethnography. Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA, 22 March 2016
  • 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)

  • Light, connectivity, and place: public interactions in a (dark) post-industrial town. Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction Annual Conference 2018. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 10 August 2018
  • Turning the lights out? Stigma, Health, and Inequality. Cardiff University, 11 January 2018
  • Making un/inhabitable worlds: reproductive medicine and disability publics. Science in Public. University of Sheffield, 11 July 2017
  • Locating Down’s syndrome: stigma, disability publics, and reproductive medicine. BSA Annual Conference. University of Manchester, 4 April 2017
  • Threats and thrills: pregnancy apps, risk, and consumption. European Sociological Association RN13 Interim Meeting. University of Bristol, 7 July 2016
  • Threats and thrills: pregnancy apps, risk, and consumption. Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting. The Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Boston, MA, 18 March 2016
  • ‘Hands-off work’: how professionals routinise prenatal screening for Down syndrome in the clinic. BSA Medical Sociology 46th Annual Conference. University of York, 11 September 2015
  • ‘It’s just a normal place’: how young people imagine, negotiate and resist the stigmatisation of a post-industrial community. ESHMS 3rd Special Interest Meeting: Europe in a Global Perspective. Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 3 September 2015
  • 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
  • The digitised pregnant body. Pregnancy, Parenting and Digital Media, University of Canberra, Australia, 27 June 2015 (invited)
  • 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
  • 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 (invited)
  • '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 (invited)
  • n/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

Committees and reviewing

  • Produced evidence review for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 2017
  • Peer-reviewer for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant applications, 2015-
  • Manuscript peer-reviewer for journals, 2011- (‘British Medical Journal Quality and Safety’; ‘Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine’; ‘Journal of Public Health’; ‘Qualitative Research’; ‘Social Science and Medicine’; ‘Sociology of Health, Medicine and Illness’; ‘Social Theory and Health’; ‘The Sociological Review’; ‘Symbolic Interaction’; ‘Women’s Studies in Communication’; ‘Women’s Studies International Forum’)
  • Evaluator for ‘Avoidance of Mitochondrial Disease – Public Dialogue’ events organised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), 2012

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

I teach in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences on the undergraduate modules 'Power, Culture, and Identity' (SI0164, year three) and 'Contemporary Inequalities' (SI0288, year two, convenor). I also teach in Cardiff School of Medicine on the social study of medicine. I have previously taught various classes at undergraduate and postgraduate level on research methods and medical sociology.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

I was employed as a Research Associate on the ESRC-funded 'Productive Margins: Regulating for Engagement' project (February 2014-May 2015). This involved working collaboratively with academics, artists, and community organisers/members to map young peoples' experiences of health and wellbeing, regulation, and place. In June 2015, I was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Canberra where I carried out a study with Professor Deborah Lupton on pregnancy and parenting 'apps'.

I have recently been awarded a Kick Start Grant from The Sociological Review to carry out a project entitled 'Counter Configurations of Disability'. The proposed study will explore the growing presence of positive disability imaginaries enacted through popular media (e.g. TV/film, newspaper articles, blogs/social networks), and how parents of disabled children create, negotiate, and/or resist configurations seemingly designed to enact a more visible and rounded portrayal of disability. Through textual analysis and interviews with parents of children with Down’s syndrome, I will examine how popular positive imaginaries of disability chime with, challenge, and/or complicate parents’ everyday experiences, especially in the context of a diminishing welfare system, increasing sanctions, rising disability hate crimes, and the deaths of people with disabilities.

I am interested in supervising prospective students in the following broad areas:

  • Medical sociology
  • Stigma
  • Disability
  • Reproduction
  • Place
  • Health and wellbeing
  • STS