Dr Marta Trzebiatowska

Dr Marta Trzebiatowska
BA (Exeter), MA (Exeter), PhD (Exeter)

Senior Lecturer

Dr Marta Trzebiatowska
Dr Marta Trzebiatowska

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272771
The University of Aberdeen Department of Sociology, Room F1 School of Social Science, Edward Wright Building, King's College, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX.



I joined the Department of Sociology in September 2007, having completed my doctorate at Exeter University where I was fortunate enough to be supervised by Professor Grace Davie. My research focuses on taking religion, and more recently non-religion, seriously and on the relationship between religious and secular discourses and gender politics. More specifically, I am interested in sociologically examining the ways in which religious and atheist women construct meaningful lives and make sense of their place in the world.


Research Interests

I am predominantly interested in the relationship between religion and gender. My doctoral research explored the lives of Catholic sisters in Polish convents and their constructions of 'consecrated femininity'. My second piece of empirical work investigated the complex web of interactions between Polish Catholic migrants and the local churches in Scotland. I have co-written a book with Steve Bruce, Why Are Women More Religious Than Men? (Oxford UP 2012), in which we critique competing explanations of women's greater religiosity and suggest that the (seemingly universal) gender gap in religious involvement is not the result of biology but is rather the consequence of important social differences —responsibility for managing birth, child-rearing and death, for example, and attitudes to the body, illness and health — over-lapping and reinforcing each other. In my current work I develop several themes that emerged from my previous research:

  • gender differences in atheism and approaches to the questions of life and death

  • the privatisation and intellectualisation of faith among Polish migrant women in the UK

  • the methodological and ethical aspects of researching religion and non-religion. In particular, I am concerned with the issues of covert versus overt fieldwork, 'uncomfortable' versus 'cosy' research relationships, and the trouble with reflexivity. 

Main research themes:

  • sociology of religion

  • religion and gender

  • religion and sexuality

  • religion and migration

  • Catholicism in Central and Eastern Europe

  • structure and agency

Current Research

I am conducting qualitative interviews with self-identified atheist women from the UK, North America, Australia, and Poland.

Research Grants

Porticus (formerly Derwent Consultancy Trust), Polish parishioners and Polish priests in the UK and Ireland: Identifying Problems and Possibilities, a co-investigator, with Claire Wallace and Halina Grzymala-Moszczynska, Duration: October 2008 – September 2009


Teaching Responsibilities

SO1005 Introduction to Sociology 1 (co-ordinator)

SO2004-5 Studying Social Life 1 (co-ordinator)

SO3067 Religion and Society

SO4049 Dissertation

SO4063 Sex, Death and the Afterlife (co-ordinator)

SO5011 Qualitative Sociology (co-ordinator)

MSc Religion and Society (programme director)

Further Info

Admin Responsibilities

  • Member of PG Committe, Research Committee and SAC in the School of Social Science
  • Academic selector for taught PG programmes in the School of Social Science
  • Equality& Diversity Advisor in the School of Social Science
  • Organiser of Applicant Day and Open Day

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome queries from potential doctoral students interested in the sociology of religion, gender and sexuality, and migration.  

Current students

Emanuela Buscemi - Kuwaiti Women's Activism After the Invasion 

Former Students

Carol McKetty - Marking the Boundaries: A Study of German National Belonging (2012)

Professional activities


  • Referee for papers for Theory, Culture and Society, Cultural Sociology and Fieldwork in Religion

  • Referee for book proposals and manuscripts for Sage

  • Member, British Sociological Association, 2004 - present

  • Co-organiser of the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Conference, April 2011, Birmingham





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