Skip to main content

Doctoral defence: Katrín Ólafsdóttir

Doctoral defence: Katrín Ólafsdóttir - Available at University of Iceland
Fri, 25/11/2022 - 09:00 to 12:00
Further information 
Free admission

On Friday, November 25th, a doctoral defense will be held at the Department of Education and Diversity, University of Iceland. Katrín Ólafsdóttir defends her doctoral thesis in educational sciences:

Gendered and Structural Violence: The discourse on intimate partner violence in Iceland: Structural problems and the development of the self

Opponents are dr. Professor Lisa Lazard at the Open University in London and dr. Eyja Margrét Jóhännu Brynjarsdóttir, professor at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Iceland.

The main supervisor was dr. Jón Ingvar Kjaran, professor at the University of Iceland's Faculty of Education and co-supervisor dr. Annadís Greta Rúdólfsdóttir docent at the Faculty of Education, University of Iceland.

In addition to them, the doctoral committee included Dr. Jeff Hearn Professor Emeritus at the Hanken School of Economics in Finland.

Dr. Ólafur Páll Jónsson, acting president of the Department of Education and Diversity, presides over the ceremony.

The defense will take place on Friday, November 25 at 9.00 in the aula of University of Iceland and will also be streamed:

All welcome!

About the project:

Gendered and Structural Violence

The discourse on intimate partner violence in Iceland: Structural problems and the development of the self

Mainstream discussion on intimate partner violence is generally focused on how well a violent act fits normative ideas about such violence, enforcing a stereotypical idea how ‘real’ or commonly recognised violence is manifested.

This research aims to understand how violence thrives and is discursively maintained in Icelandic society, with a special focus on its gendered context and male perpetrators of violence. The research data consist of a total of 35 hours of individual interviews with perpetrators of IPV, victims/survivors of IPV and group interviews with young people about relationships and consent. The project adopts the framework of affective- discursive practices, focusing on how accepted societal and cultural norms (e.g., violence and gender norms) draw one in, both affectively and discursively.

The results of the research project show, first, that young people draw heavily on heteronormative discourses and gendered norms in their understanding of consent in intimate relationships. Second, the research exposes the differences between the perpetrators’ and the victims/survivors’ perspectives and understandings of Intimate partner violence. The perpetrators focus on the individual acts of violence that are unlawful, whereas the victims/survivors experience their relationships as characterised by abuse. Finally, the discursive construction of the violent man as a monster is frequently brought up by the participants who identify themselves as perpetrators. The monster represents the unknown Other. Consequently, it discourages perpetrators from reflecting on their actions and masculinity and accepting responsibility for their violent behaviour.

The research project highlights the latent power structures and gendered dynamics of heterosexual relationships and intimate partner violence in a country often regarded as a frontrunner in gender equality.

About the candidate:

Katrín Ólafsdóttir is born in Reykjavík in 1982. She completed a BA and MA degree in history from the University of Stockholm in 2006 and 2008. In 2010 Katrín graduated as a certified secondary school teacher from the University of Iceland.

Katrín worked as a secondary school teacher in 2010-2018. From 2018 and onwards Katrín has worked as a teacher and researcher at the School of Education, University of Iceland. Her research interests include critical theory, power imbalances, gender, intimate partner violence and affect theory. Katrín was the chairperson of FEDON 2020-2022. Katrín is married to Vignir Hafsteinsson and together they have two children, Styrkár Bjarni and Flóki Hrafn.