Beyond compliance and resistance: Polish Catholic nuns negotiating femininity

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10 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the production of consecrated femininity in contemporary Polish
convents. Drawing on qualitative data from 35 interviews in five religious communities
the article explores the type of female agency which transforms the dominant model
of Polish femininity instead of resisting it. Following Lois McNay’s (2000) concept of
narrative identity, the article argues that female agency does not necessarily emerge
out of subversion of the male-dominated Polish Catholic Church. Rather than simply
being placed within discursive structures, Catholic nuns reflexively alter them by using
a mixture of gender ideology and spiritually driven gender work in order to produce
coherent and socially meaningful narratives of consecrated femininity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-218
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Catholic nuns
  • compliance and resistance
  • consecrated femininty
  • McNay
  • narrative identity
  • Poland
  • spiritual motherhood


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