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Dr Gareth M. Thomas

Dr Gareth M. Thomas

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

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


I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences. I am a sociologist interested in disability, medicine, stigma, reproduction, and technology. 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 (and former co-books review editor) 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 2020/21 academic year, I convene and teach on the third year undergraduate module 'The Sociology of Stigma'.

In pevious years, I have convened / taught on the second year undergraduate module 'Contemporary Inequalities', and I have taught on various other undergraduate and postgraduate modules include 'Introduction to Social Science Research', 'Social Research Methods', 'Ethnography', 'Digital Society', 'Sociology of Health and Illness', 'Power, Culture, and Identity', 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 (particularly Down's syndrome), medicine, stigma, reproduction, and technology.

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'.

My recent work explores the growing presence of positive disability imaginaries enacted through popular media (e.g. TV and film, blogs, social networks, etc.), and how parents of disabled children create, negotiate, and/or resist configurations designed to enact a more visible and rounded portrayal of disability. Specifically, I examine how popular positive imaginaries of disability chime with, challenge, and/or complicate parents’ everyday experiences, especially within a context of 'neoliberal-ableism' (Goodley, Runswick-Cole, Lawthom, Liddiard) where disabled people and their families/allies are devalued, disregarded, and disposed of in multiple ways.


I am willing to supervise prospective students in the following areas:

- Disability
- Medicine
- Stigma
- Reproduction
- Technology

Past projects

Current PhD and PD Students
Heather Wright (PD, 2014-): What are the experiences of English NHS managers, clinicians and patients of the National cancer waiting times targets? [co-supervised with Professor Alison Bullock]
- Patricia Jimenez (PhD, 2018-): A digital competence framework in the making: perceptions, cultures, and practices [co-supervised with Dr Jamie Lewis]
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]

Former PhD Students (Awarded PhD)
- Lydia Harper (PhD, 2015-2019): Living with Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy: exploring experiences and perspectives of a disruptive mitochondrial condition (here). [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]