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 and nonreligion (including atheism) in different cultural contexts
  • nonreligion and everyday life in Poland 
  • the privatisation and intellectualisation of faith among Polish Catholics
  • 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 and nonreligion

  • religion and gender

  • religion and sexuality

  • religion and migration

  • Catholicism in Central and Eastern Europe

  • structure and agency

Current Research

My current project (funded by the British Academy) investigates the reality of being nonreligious in a religious society by examining the everyday lives of nones - the unchurched or unaffiliated - in contemporary Poland. Poland’s religiously indifferent and unattached are sociologically interesting because the country’s political history has given the Catholic Church an unusual position of social prestige: an autonomous guarantor of Polish identity confronting a communist state that was often seen as the local agent of an alien power. In this context, nonbelief carries a complex combination of meanings. Polish noneism manifests itself most commonly as an objection to the Catholic Church’s interference in both private and public spheres. This study explores the everyday lives of Polish nones while paying particular attention to public space, national identity, and gender.

Research Grants

British Academy, Going Against the Grain? Nonreligion in Poland. PI, Duration: October 2017 - August 2019

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 

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

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