Kiran Pienaar


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Personal profile


Kiran Pienaar’s research focusses on the biopolitics of health and medicine, the body in society and social studies of drug consumption. She has a multidisciplinary background in Gender Studies, Sociology and Applied Linguistics. Before joining Monash University, she was a research associate at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University where she was involved in a project exploring lived experiences of alcohol and other drug addiction in Australia. The project informed the development of an innovative new online resource presenting these experiences in people’s own words. Kiran has also worked in the Faculties of Arts, and Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University. She has published in the areas of health and disease (with a particular focus on ontologies of HIV); drugs, addiction and the self; and gender and the body. Her first book Politics in the Making of HIV/AIDS in South Africa was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016.

Kiran’s current research program involves two new ARC-funded projects. The first, titled 'Expectations in healthcare testing' explores the sociocultural dimensions of testing in healthcare, focusing on Australia’s national cancer screening programs and the routine use of tests in clinical practice. The second, with colleagues at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales, focusses on drug consumption amongst sexual and gendered minorities, with a view to generating new insights for social care and health service provision.


Supervision of Higher Degree by Research students
Kiran is open to inquiries from students interested in pursuing higher degree research on topic areas including:
  • the sociology of health and illness
  • gender, sexuality and the body
  • health and social policy
  • social studies of alcohol and other drugs
  • drugs, addiction and the self 
She is currently supervising a student undertaking research into compulsory drug detention in China.

Professional memberships and service

Kiran is an invited reviewer for several international journals. She is also a member of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA), the Australian Women’s Member of Australian Women’s and Gender Studies Association (AWGSA), the Australasian Pacific Science and Technology Studies Network (APSTSN) and Nexus: Monash Social Science, Humanities and Medicine Network.

Research interests

Sociology of health and medicine; health and social policy; science and technology studies; posthumanist theories; social studies of drug use; poststructuralist policy analysis; feminist approaches to materiality and subjectivity; gender and the body

External positions

External University Associate, Curtin University


  • Sociology of Health and Medicine
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Sociology of the Body

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2017 2019

Chemical practices: Enhancement and experimentation

Race, K., Lea, T. & Pienaar, K. M.


Project: Research

Research Output 2006 2018

Problematising LGBTIQ drug use, governing sexuality and gender: A critical analysis of LGBTIQ health policy in Australia

Pienaar, K., Murphy, D. A., Race, K. & Lea, T. May 2018 In : International Journal of Drug Policy. 55, p. 187-194 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Addiction stigma and the biopolitics of liberal modernity: A qualitative analysis

Fraser, S., Pienaar, K., Dilkes-Frayne, E., Moore, D., Kokanovic, R., Treloar, C. & Dunlop, A. Jun 2017 In : International Journal of Drug Policy. 44, p. 192–201 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Challenging the addiction/health binary with assemblage thinking: An analysis of consumer accounts

Moore, D., Pienaar, K., Dilkes-Frayne, E. & Fraser, S. Jun 2017 In : International Journal of Drug Policy. 44, p. 155-163 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Diffracting addicting binaries: An analysis of personal accounts of alcohol and other drug ‘addiction’

Pienaar, K., Moore, D. M. J., Fraser, S., Kokanovic, R., Treloar, C. & Dilkes-Frayne, E. 1 Sep 2017 In : Health. 21, 5, p. 519-537 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Experiences of alcohol and other drug addiction, dependence or habit in Australia: Findings and recommendations from a national qualitative study

Pienaar, K., Dilkes-Frayne, E. O., Fraser, S., Kokanovic, R., Moore, D., Treloar, C. & Dunlop, A. 2017 Melbourne: Curtin University. 61 p.

Research output: Book/ReportOther ReportOther

Open Access

Activities 2013 2018

Law & Society Review (Journal)

Pienaar, K. M. (Peer reviewer)
2018 → …

Activity: Peer review responsibility

Routledge (Publisher)

Pienaar, K. M. (Peer reviewer)
Feb 2018 → …

Activity: Peer review responsibility

Drug and Alcohol Review (Journal)

Pienaar, K. M. (Peer reviewer)
2018 → …

Activity: Peer review responsibility

Dangerous Consumptions

Pienaar, K. M. (Speaker), Dean Murphy (Speaker), Kane Race (Speaker), Toby Lea (Speaker)
4 Dec 20175 Dec 2017

Activity: Contribution to conference

Curtin University Associate

Pienaar, K. M. (Fellow)
Feb 2017 → …

Activity: External research organisation, centre or institute