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Natalia Krzyzanowska

Title: Senior Lecturer School/office: School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences


Phone: +46 19 303975

Room: F3272

Natalia Krzyzanowska
Research subject

About Natalia Krzyzanowska


Dr. Natalia Krzyżanowska is Associate Professor at Department of Sociology, Örebro University, Sweden. 

Her key research interests are in critical-sociological analysis of dynamics, discourses and politics of gender in contemporary public spheres as well as in individual and collective politics and aesthetics of commemoration, especially in contemporary urban spaces and in critical art. 

Rooted in contemporary cultural sociology and philosophical aesthetics, her work is interdisciplinary and contributes to as well as draws extensively on gender/women’s studies, memory studies, urban studies, critical social theory, political economy, and critical discourse studies.

Research Experience & Research Interests 

Following her doctoral thesis in sociology (2009) - within the area of sociological and feminist-theoretical analysis of the presence/absence of women in the Polish public sphere - Natalia’s post-doctoral research has continued to undertake questions of evolving social practices of identity building and their re/construction in both discursive (post)democratic public spheres and in physical and material public spaces. 

On the one hand, she has continued work on women and gender representation in the public sphere and has enriched her work by critical-sociological as well as politico-economic reflection on how the dynamics of gender (under)representation are conditioned not only by the local processes of socio-political and politico-economic transformation (e.g. in Poland after 1989) but also how it is impacted upon by larger, global facets of social change. She has framed her work by approaches to challenges of democracy in the context of neoliberalism or consumerism – indeed some of the key topics in recent international scholarship in sociology and the wider social science – and has thereby also explicitly focused upon the notion of ‘crisis’ and its significance for multi-faceted dynamics of gender-related discourses and social practices. Her work also includes a comparative perspective on gender-related practices such as e.g. sexism as well as relates these to other/wider/parallel patterns of social exclusion (e.g. homophobia or, more recently, racism). It also applies longitudinal/historical and cross-national analysis. Natalia has empirically examined various forms of communicating and mediating gender (incl. via new/social media). The thematic focus of her work has also been extended very significantly esp. via explicit interest in social and public sphere constructions of ‘motherhood’ seen as one of key nodal concepts of contemporary gendered discourses and social practices (incl. in the context of consumption, commodification, social and gender inequality or affective labour).    

Acting as a Principal Investigator, Natalia has conducted the research above within two projects. The first, financed by Örebro University 2014-19, has been entitled The Commodification of Motherhood: An Integrated Feminist Social Research Perspective on Mediatisation and Mediation of Mothering in an Era of Consumerism. Its aim has been to investigate – incl. by means of cross-national analysis looking at, inter alia, Sweden, Poland, UK and France – how through the processes of mediatisation and mediation of motherhood in contemporary society (including traditional and social/online media) both ideas and practices related to motherhood and mothering become increasingly tied to certain patterns of consumption, and how thereby the consumer-based view of motherhood alters the wider social perceptions of motherhood/womanhood as well as of gender contract at large. At the core of the project, the commodification of motherhood has been explored as a process in the context of neoliberalism – which both deepens social divisions (e.g. celebrity mums vs. welfare mothers) and legitimises social inequality. 

The second of Natalia’s projects – financed by the NCN, the Polish National Centre for Scientific Research in 2014-18 – has looked at The Social Construction of Motherhood in Discourses of the Polish Public Sphere. This project has aimed to systematically analyse how the meaning of motherhood as a social role has been constructed in discourses of the Polish public sphere in the context of Poland’s post-1989 social and politico-economic transformation. The project has assumed that analysing public discourses of motherhood allows examining it as one of the salient social concepts which relate not only to the private but also to the public sphere as well as allows looking critically at the role played in both of those spheres by women. The project has scrutinised the typology and diversity of dynamics of discursive constructions of motherhood and its salience for wider, public-related ideas incl. value of care, equality, citizenship and democracy. 

On the other hand, further to the activities above, Natalia has significantly developed a new research area where she has related her work on the public sphere to that on the public space in a social as well as physical and material sense. Thereby, she has focussed explicitly on cultural-sociological analysis of new modes of commemoration in contemporary urban spaces in Europe and has explored dynamics of socially and spatially-conditioned practices and politics of memory. Focussing on, in particular, the so-called ‘counter-monuments’ and their evolving national and transnational social and political meaning, Natalia has analysed social, spatial and artistic practices and dynamics of commemoration over time in Sweden, Austria and Germany. 

within this strand of her work, Natalia has developed a novel, interdisciplinary approach drawing on, inter alia, urban sociology, sociology of arts, cultural studies, memory and commemoration studies, Holocaust research, philosophical aesthetics, critical discourse analysis, and social semiotics. She has already published extensively on this topic including in her widely-read articles such as "The Discourse of Counter-Monuments: Semiotics of Material Commemoration in Contemporary Urban Spaces. She currently develops a number of research applications on dynamics of urban commemoration in the context of culture, space and memory as well as gender. 

Natalia currently also works on connections between the two major strands of her research. She does so especially via exploring new modes of visual analysis linking social-theoretical input and discursive representations of social change to their complex spatial and material character as well as their wider social, political and politico-economic embedding. She does so within the field of gender in/and the public sphere and in the analysis of new modes of commemoration in public incl. urban spaces, and while scrutinising the impact of global and transnational trends on national and local dynamics of gender under-/mis-representation and exclusion or local dynamics of memory and collective identity. She also explores – in Swedish and other contexts – the links between new modes of commemoration and consumption or commodification and/or the gender-specific character of such practices. 

International Research Networks & Knowledge Exchange  

As her research has also been greatly facilitated by ongoing collaborations with colleagues at academic institutions in Sweden, Europe and beyond, Natalia also continues to build upon and engage in various international networks incl. as a member of European Sociological Association, Polish Sociological Association and other national and international organizations in sociology and beyond. Such contacts not only allow her to further sustain the high quality of her work but also enable me to take active part in interdisciplinary and cross-national exchange on the key topics of her research as already evidenced in her work (e.g. organisation of international invited panels and symposia incl. on “Gender and the Public Sphere”, Örebro, December 2016). 

Natalia’s research also makes contribution to knowledge exchange between the academia and the wider field of practice including by making impact on in arts and politics or policies of commemoration (see e.g. her 2015 keynote at the Stutthof Concentration Camp Museum).


Natalia’s academic track record to date includes 19 refereed journal articles (of which 18 single-authored), 18 book chapters (16 single- authored), one single-authored monograph, two co-edited volumes, one book review, one conference report, 2 plenary/keynote lectures and over 15 refereed conference presentations (see ‘Publications’ for details). 

In 2012, she published an acclaimed monograph ‘Kobiety w (polskiej) sferze publicznej [Women in the (Polish) Public Sphere]’ that presents a multilevel analysis of challenges to the dynamics of gender equality in Polish post-1989 society. The book received a Prize of the Culture & Education Journal for the Best Polish Publication on Society, Culture and Education in 2013.

Keynotes, Guest Lectures & Conferences 

Natalia regularly acts as a keynote and guest lecturer and invited speaker at international conferences in Sweden and across Europe. 

She has been guest lecturing at the University College London, Lancaster University and University of Wolverhampton (UK) as well as took part, including as a plenary speaker or workshop organiser, in international conferences on sociology of gender, feminist social research, motherhood, discourse, and memory in Austria, Ireland, Poland or Greece.

Since 2004, she has organised several national and international conferences and academic events within the topics of her research interests. In 2016, she acted as the main organiser of an International Symposium "Gender in/and the Public Sphere: Mediated Discourses, Imaginaries and Political Practices" organised in collaboration between Örebro University & HumUS Departments of Sociology and Media & Communication.

Teaching Experience

Natalia’s extensive teaching experience spans almost two decades of lectures and seminars in several areas of sociology and wider social and gender as well as cultural studies and communication research. 

She has extensive experience in e.g. teaching social research methods and theories to students of sociology and other social sciences. She has taught extensively in English both within the advanced topics of her research interests or within survey courses (e.g. on Modern Sociology) offered to international programmes in economics and business administration.

At Örebro University since 2014, Natalia has held a variety of lectures across School of Humanities, Education and Social Science (HumUS) incl. regular lectures on 'Gender & Media' or 'Gender and Leadership' at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels or courses on ‘Critical Theory’ at the PhD level.  She has also taught on and convened the 'Globalisation' or ‘Welfare State’ courses in the Sociology Department. She currently also contributes to the international MA Social Analysis where she traches modules on Feminist Empistemology and Gender. She has also held lectures across School of Humanities, Education and Social Science (HumUS) incl. regular lectures on 'Gender & Media' or 'Gender and Leadership' at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels or courses on ‘Critical Theory’ at the PhD level.


Articles in journals |  Articles, book reviews |  Books |  Chapters in books |  Collections (editor) | 

Articles in journals

Articles, book reviews


Chapters in books

Collections (editor)