Agata Ładykowska

Project title

Polish Roman Catholicism and “re-enchantment”: conflicting imageries of anti-abortion law protests in Poland

Project abstract

The direct aim of this project is to investigate ethnographically civic rituality connected to anti-abortion legislation protests as resulting from a specific political, moral, aesthetic and juridical context in Poland. This practice, emerging in response to the hegemonic position of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), is approached through a critical adoption of the concept of re-enchantment. The dominant position of the RCC, expressed in the extremely high numbers of religious adherence, but also in several legal and economic privileges endowed by the state, has a long history and has been upheld throughout the socialist period. In 2000s the number of adherents dropped but still ranges around 90%. However, the relationship of Poles with Catholicism is systematically eroding. The European Values Study, in which Poland participates since 1990, demonstrates that the Church ceases to be viewed as the authority on various issues, such as family life and gender roles. Recent manifestations against gathering crowds numbering ca 100 000 of young people are a firm demonstration that a change in this relationship is occurring. The project explores thus the processes that give rise to new representations of personhood and to practices that shape new forms of subjectivity. In so doing, the project establishes innovative synergies and new connections between the study of religion (at the intersection of politics and law) and post-post-socialism, and tackles the core and yet unexplored question of what processes underlie the construction of gender roles among the second generation born after socialism in Poland.

Agata Ładykowska

Agata Ładykowska


Short bio

I am a social anthropologist interested in anthropology of religion (notably of Eastern Christianity), historical anthropology, anthropological theory, political anthropology, and anthropology of postsocialism/social change. I received my Ph.D. in anthropology from Martin-Luther University of Halle Wittenberg, Germany and Max-Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany. In my research I aim to bridge the disciplinary traditions of socio-cultural anthropology and history. My previous project was designed to investigate the interrelations between economic decision-making and religious identity within ethnic Russian Eastern Christian communities in Estonia, paying particular attention to the historical dimension. Currently, I am studying the anti-abortion legislation protests in Poland which oppose a regulation of women’s reproductive rights informed by the religious field.

Selected publications

2019 “The shifts between: multiple secularisms, multiple modernities and the post-Soviet School”, in: Orthodox Religion and Politics In Contemporary Eastern Europe: on Multiple Secularisms and Entanglements, T. Köllner ed., Routledge, 2019, pp. 109-122

2018 “Orthodoxy, social mobility and economic prosperity in socialist and post-socialist Poland”, Ethnologia Polona, vol. 39, 2018, pp. 145-159

2018 “The changing scope of religious authority and reconfigurations of social status in postsocialist Russia”, Religion, State, and Society, vol. 46, no. 2, 2018, pp. 96-10

2017 “Prawosławie, ekonomia i Weber: związki nieoczywiste”, Etnografia Polska, vol. 61, no. 1-2, 2017, pp. 105-124

2013 “Women Teachers of Religion in Russia. Gendered Authority in the Orthodox Church, Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, 162 (avril-juin 2013), p. 55-74 (coauthor: Detelina Tocheva)