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Dr Gareth M. Thomas

Dr Gareth M. Thomas

Senior Lecturer

+44(0) 29 2087 0945
2.35, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Media commentator


I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences. I am a sociologist interested in disability, medicine, health/illness, and reproduction. 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 Associate Editor of the journal New Genetics and Society, an editorial board member of the journal Sociology of Health and Illness, and co-founder and co-convenor of the Medicine, Science and Culture Research Group (MeSC) and Cardiff Interdisciplinary Network on Disability (CIND) at Cardiff University.


Previous Appointments

  • Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University, 2019-
  • Lecturer, Cardiff University, 2015-2019
  • Research Associate, Cardiff University, 2014-2015
  • Ph.D. Sociology, Cardiff University, 2010-2014
  • M.Sc. Social Science Research Methods (Distinction), Cardiff University, 2009-2010
  • Econ Sociology (First Class Honours), Cardiff University, 2006-2009














In the last few years, I have convened and taught on the modules 'Contemporary Inequalities', 'Sociology of Stigma', 'Live Theory', and 'Advanced Concepts in Contemporary Sociology'. I have also taught on various other undergraduate and postgraduate modules including 'Introduction to Sociology', 'Social Research Methods', 'Ethnography', 'Digital Society', and 'Community, Sustainable Health, and Wellbeing'. I also taught for several years in the Cardiff University School of Medicine, where I introduced undergraduate medical students to key ideas located within the sociology of health, medicine, and illness.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

My broad research interests are disability, medicine, health/illness, and reproduction.

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'.

In 2018, I was awarded a small grant from The Sociological Review as part of their Kick Start Grant scheme. This work explored how parents of disabled children reflected upon their lives within a context of both austerity and a growing presence of positive disability imaginaries enacted through popular media.

In 2022, I was awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for the project 'A World of Indifference? Living with Learning Disability in the UK' (grant MCFSS22\220015). The project is based on a qualitative study exploring how adults with learning disability cultivate alternate, and affirmative, identities which celebrate and recognise their worth and humanity. It begins in January 2023 and ends in December 2023.

I have also recently been undertaking a study on older people's involvement in walking football.


Past projects

Current PhD/PD Students
- Amani Alnamnakani (PhD, 2018-): A qualitative study exploring the lives of disabled Muslim women in the UK
- Patricia Jimenez (PhD, 2018-): A digital competence framework in the making: perceptions, cultures, and practices [co-supervised with Dr Jamie Lewis]
- Kristina Addis (PD, 2020-): An investigation into the support provision of Higher Education students with diagnosed disabilities
- Melissa Martin (PhD, 2020-): An examination of the social implications of hypermobility spectrum disorder and hybermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome as new diagnostic catergories [co-supervised with Dr Rebecca Dimond]
- Mitchell Jones (PD, 2020-): Education engagement with teenagers with cancer: education practitioners' perspectives [co-supervised with Dr Jemma Hawkins]
- Katy Benson (PhD, 2021-): Rethinking stigma: living with a learning disability in the era of 'neoliberal-ableism' [co-supervised with Dr Katy Greenland]
- Jack Hogton (PhD, 2021-): A discussion of the experiences and navigations of students of colour within higher education institutions [co-supervised with Dr Esther Muddiman]
- Joey Toogood (PhD, 2022-):  Against all odds: the gambling experiences of young men in the UK
- Rachael Walker (PhD, 2022-): A qualitative study of gambling harms in the UK

Former PhD/PD Students (Awarded)
- Lydia Harper (PhD, 2015-2019): Living with Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy: exploring experiences and perspectives of a disruptive mitochondrial condition. [co-supervised with Professor Adam Hedgecoe]
- Kim Dearing (PhD, 2017-2021): The (un)intended consequences of employment policy for people with learning disabilities [co-supervised with Professor Phil Brown]
- Wright, Heather (PD, 2014-2022): What are the experiences of English NHS managers, clinicians and patients of the National cancer waiting times targets? [co-supervised with Professor Alison Bullock]