Durrheim, Kevin

Kevin Durrheim

Durrheim, Kevin


Discipline Psychology
Email durrheim@ukzn.ac.za
Contact Number 033-260-5348
Campus Pietermaritzburg Campus
Office Address Room 36B, Psychology Building, Golf Road, Pietermaritzbug
Last Updated 7 months ago

Degrees Held

  • PhD


I am professor of psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. My broad interests are in the field of social psychology of intergroup relations. I have a program of research related to racism, segregation and social change which is embedded in the South African context in which I work and live. My publications Race Trouble (Durrheim, Mtose & Brown, 2011, UKZN/ Lexington Press) and Racial Encounter (Durrheim & Dixon, 2005, Routledge) have developed from this research program. I have also published methods textbooks that have been quite widely used in South Africa:  Research in Practice (Terreblanche, Durrheim, Painter, 1999, 2006, UCT Press) and Numbers, Hypotheses and Conclusions (2002, 2006, Tredoux & Durrheim, UCT Press). My interest in methodology and intergroup contact both sparked interest in developing a technology that allows social psychologists to study intergroup phenomena like contact in evolutionary and interactive contexts (see www.viappl.org). I have loved the many challenges that VIAPPL presents and the collaboration and exciting research it makes possible.

Click on link to his Research gate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kevin_Durrheim

Research Interests

  • Kevin Durrheim is a social psychologist who lives and works in South Africa. My research interests and my thinking have been shaped by my experience of living under apartheid and through the profound transformation in the country. I have developed an interest in intergroup relations, prejudice, racism, segregation and social change, and have published articles on these topics in journals such as the American Psychologist, the British Journal of Social Psychology, the European Journal of Social Psychology, Psychological Science, and Brain and Behavioral Sciences. I am co-author (with Xoliswa Mtose and Lyndsay Brown) of “Race Trouble: Race, identity and inequality in post-apartheid South Africa.” (Pietermaritzburg: UKZN press) and (with John Dixon) “Racial Encounter: The social psychology of contact and desegregation” (London: Routledge). I am also co-editor of two methodology textbooks, (with Martin Terre Blanche and Desmond Painter) “Research in practice: Applied methods for the social sciences.” (Cape Town: UCT Press), and (with Colin Tredoux) “Numbers, hypotheses and conclusions: A course in statistics for the social sciences.” (Juta: Cape Town).
  • My overarching interest has been to understand how social identities, social practices and social worlds evolve as they respond to changing circumstances; and how individuals who are caught up in these dramas manage to conduct themselves as part of collectives, reflecting and creating the interests and intentions of their time and place. I have nurtured this interest by pursuing research in three lines of inquiry.
  • First, working in collaboration with John Dixon and Colin Tredoux, I have investigated the social psychological mechanisms by which segregation perpetuates itself. These have included the behavioral routines, discursive practices, and psychological investments that encourage people to live “together-apart”. This work has contributed to the social psychology literature on the “contact hypothesis”, showing how contact can have diverse and even ironic effects, especially for historically disadvantaged group members, and that contact can entrench social inequality.
  • A second avenue of investigation has grappled with the problem of racism in South Africa today. My earlier research sought to identify the subtle and implicit ways in which racial prejudice had come to be expressed, and how these expressions had changed over time. Increasingly, however, I have focused attention on how people use constructions of ‘racism’ to develop explanations, construct a sense of self, and mobilize others to action. For example, domestic workers and employers need to rely on ideas about what racism is (and how it can explode) as they are careful to treat each other in ways that avoid accusations of racism. I have depicted this process by which people implicitly use constructions of racism to conduct themselves as ‘race trouble’, and have studied its operation in as diverse contexts as online chat, the world of work, domestic labor, and academic writing. This research has made a critical contribution to the social psychology literature on prejudice, arguing for the need to study the way that everyday understandings of prejudice shape how people behave and thus serve as forces for social stability or change.
  • Finally, in collaboration with Mike Quayle, I have been exploring the possibility of using social network analysis to study the evolution of norms and social psychological outcomes such as ingroup bias in social interaction. Together with Larry Tooke, we have developed an experimental platform – called VIAPPL, Virtual Interaction APPLication – that allows researchers to conduct lab-based experiments in social interaction, and that outputs network data (see www.viappl.org).

Teaching Interests

  • I teach courses in social psychology and research methods.
  • Coordinator
  • Program coordinator: Research Masters in Psychology
  • Qualitative research methods (Masters)
  • Social psychology of intergroup relations (2nd year)
  • Social Psychology (Honours)
  • Contributor
  • Research Methods (Honours)
  • Research Methods (2nd year)

Publications / Selected Publications


Journal Articles

  • Durrheim, K., Greener, R., & Whitehead, K. (2014). Race trouble: Attending to race and racism in online interaction. British Journal of Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/bjso.12070
  • Durrheim, K., Jacobs, N., & Dixon, J. (2014). Explaining the paradoxical effects of intergroup contact: Paternalistic relations and system justification in domestic labour in South Africa. International Journal of Intercultural Relations. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.11.006
  • Cresswell, C., Whitehead, K., & Durrheim, K. (2014). The anatomy of ‘race trouble’ in online interactions. Ethnic and Racial Studies. DOI:10.1080/01419870.2013.854920
  • Dixon, J., Durrheim, K., Kerr, P., & Thomae, M. (2013). ‘What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?’ Further Reflections on the Limits of Prejudice Reduction as a Model of Social Change. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1, 239-252. doi:10.5964/jspp.v1i1.234
  • Kerr, P., & Durrheim, K. (2013). The dilemma of anti-xenophobia discourse in the aftermath of violence in De Doorns. Journal of Southern African Studies, 39:3, 577-596. DOI:10.1080/03057070.2013.825133
  • Durrheim, K. (2012). Discourse, action, rhetoric: From a perception to an action paradigm in social psychology. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51, 456–462. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8309.2011.02045.x
  • Durrheim, K., Cole, C., & Richards, J. (2012). The incidence of racial discrimination in post-apartheid South Africa: An audit of KwaZulu-Natal South Coast holiday accommodation establishments. Transformation, 78, 27-46. doi:10.1353/trn.2012.0028
  • Dixon, J., Levine, M., Reicher, S., & Durrheim, K, (2012). Beyond prejudice: Are negative evaluations the problem? Is getting us to like one another more the solution? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 35(6), 1-15. DOI:10.1017/S0140525X11002214
  • Durrheim, K., Tredoux, C., Foster, D., & Dixon, J. (2011). Historical trends in South African race attitudes. South African Journal of Psychology, 41, 263-278. doi: 10.1177/008124631104100302
  • Durrheim, K., Dixon, J., Tredoux, C., Eaton, L., Quayle, M., & Clack, B. (2011). Predicting support for racial transformation policies: Intergroup threat, racial prejudice sense of group entitlement and strength of identification. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 23-41. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.723
  • Dixon, J., Durrheim, K., Tredoux, C., Tropp, L., Clack, B., Eaton, L., & Quayle, M. (2010). Challenging the stubborn core of opposition to equality: Racial contact and policy attitudes. Political Psychology, 31, 831-855. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2010.00792.x
  • Durrheim, K., & Dixon, J. (2010). Racial Contact and Change in South Africa. Journal of Social Issues, 66, 273-288. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2010.01645.x
  • Dixon, J. Durrheim, K., Tredoux, C., Tropp, L. R., Clack, B., & Eaton, E. (2010). A Paradox of Integration? Interracial Contact, Prejudice Reduction, and Perceptions of Racial Discrimination. Journal of Social Issues, 66, 403-418. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2010.01652.x
  • Dixon, J. Tropp, L. R., Durrheim, K. & Tredoux, C. (2010). “Let Them Eat Harmony”: Prejudice-Reduction Strategies and Attitudes of Historically Disadvantaged Groups. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 76-80. doi: 10.1177/0963721410363366
  • Koen, J., & Durrheim, K. (2010). A naturalistic observational study of informal segregation: Seating patterns in lectures. Environment & Behavior, 42, 448-468. doi: 10.1177/0013916509336981
  • Brown, L., & Durrheim, K. (2009). Different kinds of knowing: Generating qualitative Data through mobile inter-activity. Qualitative Inquiry, 15, 911-930. doi: 10.1177/1077800409333440
  • Quayle, M. F., & Durrheim, K. (2008). Producing expertise and achieving attribution in the context of computer support. British Journal of Social Psychology, 47, 727-662. DOI: 10.1348/014466607X256751
  • Dixon, J., Tredoux, C., Durrheim, K., Finchilescu, G., & Clack, B (2008). ‘The Inner Citadels of the Color Line’: Mapping the Micro-Ecology of Racial Segregation in Everyday Life Spaces. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(4), pp. 1547–1569. DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2008.00123.x
  • Dixon, J., Durrheim, K., & Tredoux, C. (2007). Intergroup contact and attitudes towards the principle and practice of racial equality. Psychological Science, 18, 867-872. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01993.x
  • Durrheim, K., Boettiger, M., Essack, Z., Maarschalk, S., & Ranchod, C. (2007). The colour of success: A qualitative study of affirmative action attitudes of black academics. Transformation, 64, 112-139. DOI: 10.1353/trn.2008.0005
  • Martin, G., & Durrheim, K. (2006). Racial recruitment in post-apartheid South Africa: Dilemmas of private recruitment agencies. Psychology in Society, 33, pp. 1-15.
  • Durrheim, K., & Dixon, J. (2005). Studying talk and embodied practices: Toward a psychology of materiality of ‘race relations’. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 15, 446-460. DOI: 10.1002/casp.839
  • Durrheim, K. (2005). Socio-spatial practice and racial representation in a changing South Africa. South African Journal of Psychology. 35, 444-459.
  • Durrheim, K. (2005). Contemporary racism: A critical review of social psychological approaches. Psychology in Society, 31, 1-8.
  • Dixon, J., Durrheim, K., & Tredoux, C. (2005). Beyond the optimal contact strategy: A reality check for the contact hypothesis. American Psychologist, 60, 697-711. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.60.7.697
  • Dixon, J., & Durrheim, K. (2004). Dislocating identity: Desegregation and the transformation of place. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 24, 455-473. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2004.09.004
  • Durrheim, K. & Dixon, J (2004) Attitudes and the fibre of everyday life: The discourse of racial evaluation and the lived experience of desegregation. American Psychologist, 59, 626-636. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.59.7.626
  • Durrheim, K. (2003). White opposition to racial transformation. Is it racism? South African Journal of Psychology, 33(2), 241-249. doi: 10.1177/008124630303300407
  • Dixon, J., & Durrheim (2003). Contact and the ecology of racial division: Some varieties of informal segregation. British Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 1-23
  • Macleod, C., & Durrheim, K. (2002). Racialization teenage pregnancy: ‘Culture’ and ‘tradition’ in the South African scientific literature. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 25(5), 778-801.
  • Macleod, C., & Durrheim, K. (2002). Foucauldian Feminism: The implications for governmentality. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 32(1), 41- 60.
  • Barnes, B., Palmary, I., & Durrheim. K. (2001). The denial of racism: The role of humour, personal experience and self censorship. Journal of Language and Social Psychology. 20(5), 321-338.
  • Durrheim, K. (2001). A defence of an ‘immanentist’ account of social form and experience. South African Journal of Psychology. 31(1), 9-11. doi: 10.1177/008124630103100102
  • Durrheim K., & Dixon, J. (2001). The role of place and metaphor in racial exclusion: South Africa’s beaches as sites of shifting racialization. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 24, 333-350.
  • Toerien, M., & Durrheim, K. (2001). Power through knowledge: Ignorance and the ‘real man’. Feminism and Psychology, 11(1), 35-54.
  • Durrheim, K., & Dixon, J. (2000). Theories of culture in racist discourse. Race and Society, 3, 93-109. DOI: 10.1016/S1090-9524(01)00024-9
  • Dixon, J., & Durrheim, K. (2000). Displacing place-identity: A discursive approach to locating self and other. British Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 27-44. DOI: 10.1348/014466600164318
  • Durrheim, K., & Foster, D. (1999). Technologies of social control. Crowd management in liberal democracy, Economy and Society, 28(1), 56 – 74. DOI:10.1080/03085149900000024
  • Durrheim, K. (1998). The relationship between tolerance of ambiguity and attitudinal conservatism. European Journal of Social Psychology, 28, 731-753. OI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(199809/10)28
  • Durrheim, K. (1997). Social constructionism, discourse and psychology. South African Journal of Psychology, 27(3), 465-475. doi: 10.1177/008124639702700308
  • Durrheim, K. (1997). Cognition and ideology: A rhetorical approach to critical theory. Theory and Psychology, 7, 749-770. doi: 10.1177/0959354397076002
  • Durrheim, K. (1997). Theoretical conundrum: The politics and science of the authoritarian personality. Political Psychology, 18, 625-627. DOI: 10.1111/0162-895X.00070
  • Durrheim, K. (1997). Whose humdrum? A reply to Meloen. Political Psychology, 18, 657-663.
  • Durrheim, K., & Foster, D. (1997). Tolerance of ambiguity as a content specific construct. Personality and Individual Differences, 22, 741-750.
  • Durrheim, K., & Mokeki, S. (1997). Race and relevance: a content analysis of the South African Journal of Psychology. South African Journal of Psychology, 27(4), 206-213.
  • Dixon, J., Foster, D., Durrheim, K., & Wilbraham, L. (1994). Discourse and the politics of space in South Africa: the ‘squatter crisis’. Discourse and Society, 5, 277-296.

Chapters in Books

  • Durrheim, K., (in press). ‘Race stereotypes’ as ‘racist’ discourse. In C. Tileaga and L. Stokoe (Eds). Discursive psychology: Classic and contemporary issues. Routledge.
  • Durrheim, K., & Dixon, J. (in press). Intergroup contact and the struggle for social justice. In Phillip L. Hammack Jr. (Ed) Oxford Handbook of Social Psychology and Social Justice. OUP.
  • Dixon, J., Durrheim, K., & Thomae, M. (in press). Desegregation. In J. Wright (Ed), The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2nd Edition. Elsevier.
  • Durrheim, K. (2014). Social Change. In T. Teo, (Ed), Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology, Springer. ISBN 978-1-4614-5582-0
  • Durrheim, K. (2014). Two histories of prejudice. In C. Tileaga and J. Byford (Eds). Psychology and History: Interdisciplinary Explorations. Cambridge University Press. http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/psychology/social-psychology/psychology-and-history-interdisciplinary-explorations?format=HB
  • Dixon, J., Durrheim, K., & Di Masso, A. (2013). Places, identities and geopolitical change: Exploring the strengths and limits of Identity Process Theory. In Rusi Jaspal & Glynis Breakwell (Eds). Identity Process Theory: Identity, Social Action and Social Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://www.cambridge.org/ec/academic/subjects/psychology/social-psychology/identity-process-theory-identity-social-action-and-social-change
  • Di Masso, A., Dixon, J., & Durrheim, K. (2013). Place attachment as discursive practice (pp 75-86). In Lynne Manzo and Patrick Devine-Wright (eds). Place Attachment. Oxon: Routledge. http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415538213/
  • Durrheim, K., Rautenbach, C., Nicholson, T., & Dixon, J. (2013). Displacing place identity:  Introducing an analytics of participation. In B. Gardener & F. Winddance-Twine (Eds) Geographies of privilege (pp 43-71). New York: Routledge
  • Zuma, B., & Durrheim, K. (2012). Race and intergroup relationships. In M. Visser (ed). Contextualising Community Psychology in South Africa (2nd Edn) (pp. 321-332). Van Schaik: Pretoria
  • Durrheim, K. (2012). Implicit prejudice in mind and interaction. In J. Dixon & M. Levine (Eds). Beyond prejudice: Extending the Social Psychology of conflict inequality and social change.  (pp. 179-199). Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.
  • Dixon, J., Durrheim, K., & Tredoux, C. (2011). From divided space to shared space: How environmental psychology can help us to understand and transform the tenacity of segregation. In M. Bonauito, M. Bonnes, A.M., Nenci and G. Carrus (Eds), Urban diversities, biosphere and well being: Designing and Managing our Common Environment. Hogrefe & Huber.
  • Durrheim, K. (2010). Attitudes towards racial redress in South Africa. B. Roberts, M. wa Kivilu & Y. D. Davids (Eds). South African Social Attitudes 2nd Report: Reflections on the Age of Hope (pp. 31-42). Pretoria: HSRC Press.
  • Durrheim, K., Hook, D., & Riggs, D. (2009). Race and Racism. In D. Fox., I. Prilleltensky & S. Austin (Eds), Critical Psychology: An Introduction (2nd Edn.) Thousand, Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Durrheim, K., & Mtose, X. (2006). Being-black-in-the-new-South-Africa. In G. Stevens, V. Franshi, & T. Swart. A race against time: Psychology and the challenges of deracialization in South Africa. Pretoria: University of South Africa Press.
  • Durrheim, K., & Dixon, J. (2006). Everyday explanation of diversity and difference: The role of lay ontologizing. In G. Ellison & A. Goodman. The Nature of Difference: Scienc, Society and Human Biology. London: Taylor and Francis. http://books.google.co.za
  • Durrheim, K. (1997). Peace talk – violence: An analysis of the power of peace talk. In A. Levett, A. Kottler, I. Parker, & E. Burman (Eds.), Discourse and power: Culture and change in South Africa (pp.17-34). London: Zed Press.
  • Durrheim, K. (1997). The methodological circle and the measurement of cognitive style. In J. Mouton, & J. Muller (Eds.), Knowledge, Method and the public good (pp. 437-451). Pretoria: HSRC.
  • Foster, D., & Durrheim, K. (1997). Crowd psychology and crowd control. In E. Bornman R. van Eeden & M. Wentzel (Eds.), Violence in South Africa: A variety of perspectives (pp. 117-146). Pretoria: HSRC.

Student Supervision (Honours, Matser, PhD …)

  • I enjoy working with postgraduate students and supervised 12 PhD and more than 30 Masters theses to completion. I look forward to working with new students on research that reflects a shared interest in topics related to segregation, prejudice, racism, social identity, place identity, social networks and social change.