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Dr Taryn van Niekerk


Research interests

My primary research areas include feminist post-structuralist theories of gender and intersectionality, social psychological and post-colonial theories of identity and subjectivity, men’s accounts of their own violence, and the social construction of violence against women in the South African media.  I am also interested in child protection, strategies for violence prevention and the intergenerational transmission of intimate partner violence.

Current research projects

My postdoctoral research forms part of a larger participatory action project on the gendered and sexual lives of South African youth. My research explores how young people represent gender violence and relationships, through the method of Photovoice. It pays particular attention to how intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality shape young peoples’ experiences of violence in their daily lives. As a powerful tool for engaging with young people, we believe that the Photovoice method has the capacity to encourage community involvement, and thus, to mobilise social action.


Associate Professor Floretta Boonzaier (University of Cape Town); Responses to Interpersonal Violence (RIV) network: Professor Margareta Hydén (Linköping University), Professor David Gadd (University of Manchester), Allan Wade (Canada).

Teaching interests

  • Qualitative research methods
  • Social and Critical Psychology

Selected publications

Van Niekerk, T. (in preparation). Discourses of gender-based violence against women in the South African media.

Van Niekerk, T. & Boonzaier, F. (2016). Respectability, Chivalry and 'Fixing' Women: Men's Narratives of Intimate Partner Violence in Cape Town. Onati Socio-Legal Series, 5(6), 1471-1489.

Van Niekerk, T. & Boonzaier, F. (2015). Rules and Representations: Social Networks’ Responses to Men’s Violence against Women in South Africa. In M. Hydén, D. Gadd & A. Wade (Eds.), Response Based Approaches to the Study of Interpersonal Violence (pp. 56 – 76). United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan.

Van Niekerk, T. & Boonzaier, F. (2015). “You’re On The Floor, I’m The Roof And I Will Cover You": Social Representations Of Intimate Partner Violence In Two Cape Town Communities. Papers on Social Representations, 24(1), 5.1 – 5.28.

Van Niekerk, T. & Boonzaier, F. (2014). “The only solution there is to fight”: discourses of masculinity amongst South African, domestically violent men. Violence Against Women, 22(3), 271 – 291.