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 Psychlogy 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.

Ongoing projects include a Marsden funded collaborative social action project designed to increase critical conversations around pornography (, an analysis of the place of pornography in contemporary New Zealand in relation to the legacy of post-sex wars feminist debates, a participatory action project with a secondary school feminist group on sexting, and a theoretical discussion of the complexity of resistance to rape.

She is currently working on a revised edition of her 2005 book Just sex? The cultural scaffolding of rape. In late 2017 she will start work on one element of an Australian Research Council Funded project on so-called revenge pornography (led by Nicola Henry, and Asher Flynn, Anastasia Powell, and with Clare McGlynn and Erika Rackley).

Other key interests include biomedicalisation and critical mental health.

Teaching | Current

Psych 319 Gender & Psychology

Psych 755 Gender, Power & Sexuality

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • 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
  • (2013). DSM-5 and Beyond: A Critical Feminist Engagement with Psychodiagnosis (Special Issue) Feminism& Psychology 23(1). Related URL.

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
New Zealand

Web links