Professor Nicola Gavey

MA(Hons), DipClinPsych, PhD

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Originally trained as a clinical psychologist, Nicola worked in the community for a few years before taking up an academic position. She is interested in the possibilities for teaching, research and scholarship to inform social debate and change, and maintains ongoing conversations with those working in the community on education, support, advocacy and activism around sexual violence and gender issues more broadly.

Nicola was a foundational member of the Psychology and Social Issues Group (formerly the Gender and Critical Psychology Group and, before that, the Psychology Discourse Research Unit) within the School of Psychology.

In 2005 she was a Fulbright New Century Scholar and visiting scholar at the Victims of Violence Program, affiliated with Harvard Medical School. In 2008 she was a visiting scholar at the Graduate Centre, CUNY, New York City, where she also worked with the New View Campaign to raise critical awareness about female genital cosmetic surgery.

From 2008-2013 Nicola, along with Ginny Braun (also in the School) was editor of Feminism & Psychology (SAGE Publications, London), which in 2013 received a Distinguished Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Women in Psychology.

Her research has been supported by Health Research Council of New Zealand, Marsden, and other externally-funded grants.

Research | Current

Nicola has wide-ranging interests within feminist psychology. The central focus of her research has been understanding and challenging the ways that normative cultural values and practices make rape and sexual coercion possible. Currently this includes looking at contemporary sexism and misogyny and gender power relations in digital culture (including pornography). She has a long-standing interest in how the broader social, economic and political context shape the conditions of possibility for how we live our lives; including how neoliberal and postfeminist rhetoric obscure and defuse critique of everyday forms of inequality and injustice.

Current collaborative projects include an Australian Research Council Funded project on image-based sexual abuse in Australia, New Zealand and the UK (led by Nicola Henry, with Asher Flynn, Anastasia Powell, Clare McGlynn and Erika Rackley). She is also completing a project, conducted in collaboration with UoA colleagues on gender, sexism and online ethics, which has involved workshops with over 50 teenage boys.

Recently completed projects include a Marsden-funded collaborative social action project designed to increase critical conversations around pornography ( recently completed a second edition of her book Just sex? The cultural scaffolding of rape, originally published in 2005.

Other key interests include biomedicalisation and critical mental health.

Teaching | Current

Psych 319 Gender & Psychology

Psych 755 Gender, Power & Sexuality (not taught in 2020)

Psych 767 Gender Violence

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • McGlynn, C., Johnson, K., Rackley, E., Henry, N. M., Gavey, N., Flynn, A., & Powell, A. (2020). 'It's torture for the soul': The Harms of image-based sexual abuse. Social & Legal Studies10.1177/0964663920947791
  • Gavey, N. (2019). The persistence of a masculine point of view in public narratives about rape. In U. Andersson, M. Edgren, L. Karlsson, G. Nilsson (Eds.) Rape Narratives in Motion (pp. 247-255). Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1007/978-3-030-13852-3_11
  • Gavey, N. (2019). Just sex? The cultural scaffolding of rape (2nd). London: Routledge. Pages: 302. Related URL.
  • Calder-Dawe, O., & Gavey, N. (2017). Feminism, Foucault, and Freire: A dynamic approach to sociocultural research. Qualitative Psychology10.1037/qup0000106
  • Calder-Dawe, O. E., & Gavey, N. (2016). Jekyll and Hyde revisited: Young people’s constructions of feminism, feminists and the practice of ‘‘reasonable feminism’’. Feminism and Psychology, 26 (4), 487-507. 10.1177/0959353516660993
  • Sills, S., Pickens, C., Beach, K., Jones, L., Calder-Dawe, O., Benton-Greig, P., & Gavey, N. (2016). Rape culture and social media: young critics and a feminist counterpublic. Feminist Media Studies, 16 (6), 935-951. 10.1080/14680777.2015.1137962
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Paulette Benton-Greig
  • Antevska, A., & Gavey, N. (2015). "Out of Sight and Out of Mind": Detachment and men's consumption of male sexual dominance and female submission in pornography. Men and Masculinities, 18 (5), 605-629. 10.1177/1097184X15574339
  • Gavey, N., & Senn, C. Y. (2014). Sexuality and sexual violence. In D. L. Tolman, L. M. Diamond (Eds.) APA Handbook on Sexuality and Psychology: Vol. 1. Person-Based Approaches (pp. 339-382). Washington, DC: APA Press. 10.1037/14193-012

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 3, Room 359
New Zealand

Web links