Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Professor Marta Bucholc

Fellow Professor Marta Bucholc

April - September 2021

Marta Bucholc (1978) works at the Faculty of Sociology of the University of Warsaw. She currently leads a research project “National habitus formation and the process of civilization in Poland after 1989: a figurational approach” funded by Polish National Science Centre (2020-2025). From 2015 through 2020 she was research professor at Käte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Studies „Law as Culture“ at the University of Bonn. She is Associate Researcher (chercheuse associée) at the Centre de recherche en science politique, Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles. She was visiting professor at Universities of Graz and Saint-Louis Bruxelles, Visiting Bye-Fellow of Selwyn College, University of Cambridge, and Bronisław Geremek Fellow of the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna. She graduated in sociology, philosophy and law, and she obtained her Ph. D. (2006) and her habilitation (2014) in sociology at the University of Warsaw.


Research project at the Kolleg

Abortion law and the formation of constitutional identity of Poland after 1989

In my research project, I focus on the role of the abortion debate in the process of formation of Polish constitutional identity since 1989. It is my thesis that the extremely contentious issue of the legal regulation of abortion has been the pivot of the formation of Polish constitutional identity after 1989. Not only the scope of the protection and the interpretation of human rights and the relation between Church and state, but also fundamental problems such as the separation of powers, the role of the constitutional court, and the relation between international and domestic law took shape in the context of an incessant debate about the legal governance of abortion which have been ongoing with varying intensity ever since 1989. This is demonstrable both for the early 1990s, when an amendment of abortion law was immediately raised as one of the primary legislative postulates by the right wing of the former anti-Communist opposition, with massive popular support, and for the constitutional debate since mid-1990s until 1997. The constitutional relevance of abortion law was brought to the fore anew after 2015, and the manifold tensions around the matter culminated in the wave of social protests after the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling of 22 October 2020. It if my goal to shed light on the historical trajectory of the abortion debates and on their bearing on our understanding of the contemporary crisis of the rule of law in Poland and, in a longer perspective, of the chasm in the centre of the Polish constitutional identity.

Main areas of research

  • Historical sociology of law
  • Social theory
  • History of sociology
  • History of ideas.

Positions and memberships

  • 2021: University Professor (prof. ucz.), Faculty of Sociology/University of Warsaw/Poland
  • 2021: Associate Researcher (chercheuse associée), Centre de recherche en science politique/Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles/Belgium
  • 2020: Member, Research Network Law and Civilization processes, Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles, funded by Belgian Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique
  • 2019: Member, Research Network Social Space, Fields and Relationality in Contemporary and Historical Social Analysis, funded by Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange
  • 2016: Member of Portal to Excellent Women Academics


Marta Bucholc, Sociology in Poland: To Be Continued? (Palgrave: Palgrave Pivot, 2016).

Marta Bucholc, Piąty wymiar. Kulturowa socjologia wiedzy Norberta Eliasa [The Fifth Dimension. Norbert Elias’s Sociology of Knowledge] (Warsaw: Wydawnictwa UW, 2016).

Marta Bucholc, A Global Community of Self-Defense. Norbert Elias on Normativity, Culture, And Involvement (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2015).

Marta Bucholc, Samotność długodystansowca. Na obrzeżach socjologii Norberta Eliasa [Lone-liness of a Long Distance Runner. On the Margins of Norbert Elias’s Sociology] (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 2013).

Marta Bucholc, Konserwatywna utopia kapitalizmu. Etyczne iluzje międzywojennego kupiectwa [Conservative Utopia of Capitalism. Ethical Illusions of Interwar Merchants] (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 2012).


Edited and Co-Edited Volumes

Marta Bucholc, eds, Social Transformation in Theory and Practice (Vienna: Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, 2012).

Marta Bucholc, eds, Disappearing Realities. On the Cultural Consequences of Social Change, (Vienna: Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, 2011).

Marta Bucholc, eds, Polska po 20 latach wolności [Poland After 20 Years of Freedom] (Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 2011).


Articles (journal)

Marta Bucholc, Law and Liberal Pedagogy in a Post-Socialist Society: The Case of Poland, in: Journal of Modern European History 18, no. 3 (2011): 324-334.

Marta Bucholc, Schengen and the Rosary. Catholic religion and the postcolonial syndrome in Polish national habitus, in: Historische Sozialforschung/Historical Social Research 45, no. 1 (2020): 153-181.

Marta Bucholc and Maciej Komornik, Die PiS, das Virus und die Macht. Wahlen in Zeiten der Pandemie, in: Osteuropa 2020, no. 3-4, 37-50.

Marta Bucholc, Liberal Pedagogy. Jerzy Szacki on the Past and Modern Polish Liberalisms, in: Roczniki Historii Socjologii Vol. X, (2019): 7-26.

Marta Bucholc and Maciej Komornik, Finaler Akt. Die Unterwerfung der polnischen Justiz, in: Osteuropa no. 12 (2019): 23-37.


Article (book)

Marta Bucholc, Figurational Sociology of the Rule of Law: A Case of Central and Eastern Europe, in: Norbert Elias in Troubled Times, edited by F. Delmotte and B. Gornicka (London: Palgrave, 2021) (forthcoming).

Marta Bucholc, Die Politisierung des Rechts in Polen: Rechtsstaatlichkeit als (fehlender) Habitus, in: Politik in Rechtsstaat, edited by Christian Schmidt and Benno Zabel (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2021) (forthcoming).

Marta Bucholc, Strategies of Sincerity. Scientific Autobiographies in the Proceedings of ‘Koło Naukoznawcze’, in: A New Organon. Science Studies in Interwar Poland, edited by Friedrich Cain and Bernhard Kleeberg (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2021) (forthcoming).

Marta Bucholc, Memory Activism and Law, in: Handbook of Memory Activism, edited by Yifat Gutman and Jenny Wüstenberger (London: Routledge, 2021) (forthcoming).

Marta Bucholc, Juliusz Bardach and the Agenda of Socialist History of Law in Poland, in: Socialism and Legal History, Erkkila, edited by Ville Erkillä and Hans-Peter Haferkamp (London: Routledge, 2020), 115-135.



Review of Andrea Kretschmann, ed., Das Rechtsdenken Pierre Bourdieus, (Weilerswist: Velbrück Wissenschaft, 2019), in: Zeitschrift für Rechtssoziologie 39, 2 (2019): 332-340.

Review of Mirosława Grabowska, Bóg a sprawa polska. Poza granicami teorii sekularyzacji. (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Scholar, 2018), in: Stan Rzeczy 15, 2 (2018): 143-152.

Review of Donald Levine, Social Theory as Vocation: genres of theory work in sociology (London: Routledge, 2015), in: Max Weber Studies 15, 2 (2015): 272-274.

Review of Mirosława Marody, Jednostka po nowoczesności. perspektywa socjologiczna (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Scholar, 2016), in: Studia Socjologiczne 214, 3 (2014): 265–276.

Review of Antoni Sułek, ed., Ossowski z perspektywy półwiecza (Warsaw: Oficyna Naukowa, 2014), in: Studia Socjologiczne 214, 3 (2014): 277–280.