Joanna Mizielinskas bilde

Joanna Mizielinska



Joanna Mizielinska holds DSs (habilitation) in sociology, University of Warsaw and a PhD in Women’s Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of Polish Academy of Sciences. She was a Fulbright scholar at Princeton University where she conducted her research under auspices of prof. Judith Butler (2001/2002). She was also a CIMO researcher at the Christina Institute in Helsinki University (2004/2005). In 2017 and 2009  she was a visiting researcher in the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University College, Stockholm.

She currently works as an Associate Professor at the Institute of Psychology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Her interests concentrate on queer theory, sociology of gender and family, sociology of sexuality. Her past research centred on the politics of translation of Anglo-American queer theoretical approaches/concepts into other geo-political contexts and the question of exclusion. Her current research focuses on queer kinship and queer families.

She is the author of Different or ordinary? Families of choice in Poland” (PWN 2017), Sex/Body/Sexuality (Universitas 2007) and (De)Constructions of Femininity (slowo/obraz/terytoria 2004) and co-author of In different voices. Families of Choice in Poland (PWN 2017) and Families of choice in Poland. Family life of nonheterosexual persons (IPPAN 2015). She is co-editor of De-Centring Western Sexualities: Central and Eastern European Perspective (Ashgate 2011; Routledge 2016). Her most recent writing focuses on critical analysis of discourses on families of choice in Poland (Journal of Homosexuality, 2017) and queer kinship beyond Western queer paradigms (Sexualities, 2017).


She has teaching experience in gender studies, sociology (particularly sociology of family), queer studies, kinship studies and anthropology.



2017                Different or ordinary? Families of Choice in Poland (PWN; in Polish)

2017                In different Voices. Families of Choice in Poland (co-author with Justyna Struzik and Agnieszka Król; PWN in Polish;)

2016                De-Centring Western Sexualities: Central and Eastern European Perspective, new edition Routledge (with Robert Kulpa)

2015                           Families of choice in Poland. Family life of nonheterosexual persons. (co-author with M. Abramowicz and A. Stasińska; IPPAN in English)

2011                De-Centring Western Sexualities: Central and Eastern European Perspective, Ashgate (with Robert Kulpa)

2008                Cooperation or conflict? Women, State, and EU (with M. Fuszara, J. Regulska, and M. Grabowska).

2007                Gender/Body/Sexuality: From Feminism to Queer Theory. (Universitas Krakow).

2004                            (De)Constructions of Femininity: Feminist Subjectivity and the Problem of Exclusion. Slowo/obraz/terytoria. Gdansk.


Chosen Articles in English

2018                Joanna Mizielinska, Jacqui Gabb, Agata Stasinska. ‘Queer Kinship and Relationships’ (co-editors of a special issue of Sexualities devoted to queer kinship and relationships. 21(7)

2018                           Mizielinska, Joanna, Jacqui Gabb, and Agata Stasinska. 2017. ‘Editorial Introduction to Special Issue: Queer Kinship and Relationships’. Sexualities, Sexualities 21 (7) s. 975–982

2018                           Joanna Mizielinska i Agata Stasińska. Beyond the Western Gaze - Families of Choice in Poland, Sexualities. 21 (7), S. 983-1001

2017                “There Is Nothing Like a Family”: Discourses on families of Choice in Poland. W: Journal of Homosexuality. 64 (13): 1793–1815.

2016                           “Are the Lips a Grave? A Queer Feminist on the Ethics of Sex”, In: Feminist Review 113 (1)

2015                “Personal strategies for overcoming legal obstacles. ‘Families of choice in Poland’”, In: Casonato, Carlo and Schuster, Alexander, red. Rights on the move: rainbow families in Europe: proceedings of the conference: Trento, 16-17 October 2014. Trento: Università degli Studi di Trento. Facoltà di Giurisprudenza.

2013                guest editor of Lambda Nordica nr 4 vol 17, „’in transition?: central/eastern European sexualities” (together with z R. Kulpą) & introduction to the issue „Central and Eastern European sexualities ‘in transition”: reflections on queer studies, academic hegemonies and critical epistemologies”. s. 19-29

2013                           Kulpa, R. and Mizielinska, J. (2013) “Central and Eastern European Sexualities ‘in Transition’. Reflections on Queer Studies, Academic Hegemonies, and Critical Epistemologies.” Introduction to the special issue. In: Lambda Nordica Vol 17, No 4, pp. 19-29.

2013                           Kulpa, R. and Mizielinska, J. (2013) “Debating Sexual Politics in Central-Eastern Europe. A Reply”. In: Southeastern Europe. Vol 37, No 1, pp. 102-110.

2012                (Un)Translatable Queer? Or what is lost, and can be found in
translation. In Import – Export – Transport. Queer Theory, Queer
Critique and Queer Activism in Motion
, Zaglossuss, Viena

2010                “Between Silencing and Ignorance: Families of choice in Poland”, In Dialogue and Universalism

2010                Entry about Poland to the Greenwood Encyclopedia of LGBT Issues Worldwide. (ed.) Chuck Stewart. Westport, Connectitut: Greenwood.

2009                           „The Rest Is Silence...: Polish Nationalism and the Question of Lesbian Existence”. In Global Gender Research: Transnational Perspectives (eds.) Christine E. Bose and Minjeong Kim, Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Books, Inc.

2009                           Who is afraid of “kindred specters”? Death, mourning, and the future of kinship studies. NORA vol. 17 no 1

2009                “Is Queer Theory Always Already American?”. In Cultural and Media Studies. European Perspective (ed.) Maria Pilar Rodriguez. Centre for Basque Studies, University of Nevada, Reno.

2006                “Queering Moominland: The Problems of Translating Queer Theory into Non-American Context”. In SQS 1/2006.

2005                           “Poland Meets Queer Theory.” In Homoseksualizm. Perspektywa interdyscyplinarna. (eds.) K. Slany, B. Kowalska, M. Smietana, NOMOS, Krakow.

2004                “Eyes Wide Open. Facing Polish Homophobia/Kasvotusten puolalaisen homofobian kanssa.” In Idantutkimus. The Finnish Review of East European Studies no 3 (in Finnish).

2002                            „You Are Not that Name ...: The Problem of Exclusion of  Male-to-Female Transsexuals.” In A Queer Mixture. Gender Studies Perspectives on Minority Sexual Identities (eds.) Tomek Basiuk, Tomek Sikora, and Dominika Ferens, Wydawnictwo Bellona, Warsaw. 

2001                           „The Rest Is Silence...: Polish Nationalism and the Question of Lesbian Existence”. In European Journal of Women’s Studies, summer vol 8, issue 3.

1999                           “When Love Has Left: Relations Between Lesbian Love and Writing in But This is the Most Terrible in Love by Nicole Muller.” In Furia Pierwsza no.3 (bilingual English-Polish).

1996                “Is There a Need for the Acceptance of Androgyny? Deliberations on Men's and Women's Identity.” In Kwartalnik Pedagogiczny no. 2. (bilingual English-Polish).


Current Post:

Associate Professor at the Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences; Jaracza 1, 00-378 Warsaw. (2012 - )

Previous Appointments:

2011-2012      Director of the Institute of Sociology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw

2009-2013      Associate Professor at the Institute of Sociology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw

2008-2009                  Assistant Professor at the Institute of Sociology and International Relations at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw

2008                Visiting Professor at Gender studies at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw

2007-                          Director of gender module at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities

2006-2008                  Assistant Professor at the Institute for Psychology of Intercultural Relations at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw

2006-2007      Visiting Professor at Gender Studies, Institute of Audiovisual Culture, Jagiellonian University, Cracow

2004                Visiting Lecturer at the Christina Institute for Women’s Studies, Helsinki University


2009    doktor habilitowany (habilitation: post-doctoral degree) recommended by a fully qualified faculty board at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences, Warsaw University and granted by the Central Commission for Academic Titles and Degrees.

2001    PhD, Graduate School for Social Research at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences

1998    MA in gender studies conferred with honors and distinction for and on behalf of the New York State Education Department, Program on Gender and Culture, Central European University

1994    MA at Polish Philology Department/Cultural studies at the Warsaw University  


2017                Visiting researcher the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University College, Stockholm

2009                Visiting researcher the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University College, Stockholm

2004                Research Visiting Scholar, Department of Gender and Women’s studies, Rutgers University

2004/2005                  Centre for International Mobility research grant, Christina Institute for Women’s Studies, Helsinki University

2001/2002       Fulbright Fellowship, Princeton University, academic mentor: Prof. Judith Butler

1999-2000      Fellowship of Civic Education Project, Eastern Scholar Program, CEU Budapest


2017                Member of Polish Sociological Association

2016                Member of Editorial Board of Feminist Critique

2015                the Advisory Board of the Cambridge Reproductive Sociology Research Group

2008-              Member of SQS, The Society of Queer Studies in Finland

2007-2012      Research Affiliate, Centre for Interdisciplinary Study of Sexuality and Gender in Europe, University of Exeter, UK

2007                           Member of the Steering Committee of the Queer in Europe project, Centre for Interdisciplinary Study of Sexuality and Gender in Europe, University of Exeter, UK

2007-              Member of the Sexualities in Central and Eastern Europe Network, Centre for East European Language Based Area Studies, UK

2006-              Member of Editorial Board of InterAlia, a journal of queer studies

2006-2012                  Member of EastBordNet –COST Project - a network exploring money, gender and sexuality in the border transformations of Europe’s eastern periphery

1997-2001      Member of the OLA Lesbian Archive in Warsaw


Recently she was a Principal Investigator of the project “Families of Choice in Poland” (2013-2016; www.familiesofchoice.pl) which was the first multi-method project on non-heterosexual families in Poland. It was projected as a deep study which aimed at showing diversity of family and intimate configurations created by non-heterosexuals in Poland as well as understanding all challenges that they cope with in their daily lives and strategies that help them to do so. Therefore, in the project the team investigated all kind of matters connected with daily life, problems, needs and expectations of members of non-heterosexual families living in contemporary Poland. The project consisted of several stages and research methods (both quantitative and qualitative) which aimed to capture different emotional, cognitive and social dimensions of everyday life and also provide highest levels of validity and the reliability of research findings. “Families of choice” aimed to not only identify the existence of, but also to study the different types of family constellations of non-heterosexual people as part of the rapid and significant changes in families in Poland as such and further, to examine the possible consequences and repercussions of these changes. The project had an inter- and transdisciplinary character with a strong emphasis on fields that are usually marginalized in the Polish academia, namely gender and queer studies. Methodologically, the fluid character of non-heterosexual family life requires not only good networks within marginalized communities, but multiple approaches, from micro-sociology, to analysis of individual life stories to the phenomenological description of family life, and the use of both ethnographic methods and discourse analysis. By drawing on queer and feminist social scientific approaches, the heteronormative assumptions of conventional sociological family research was challenged. Theoretically, the project aimed to both introduce and challenge international perspectives from queer and feminist kinship and family studies through the analysis of Polish data. Motivated by a desire to improve the real-life situation of non-heterosexual families in Poland, the study give a full and detailed picture of Polish “families of choice”, including their real needs and their most urgent problems in a way that hopes to prove intelligible for Polish society and science. This topic remains almost entirely unstudied in Poland, and is thus of crucial value for the development of both social scientific research on the family and for policy legislation.

Currently she is a Co-Investigator in the research project “Queer(y)ing Kinship in the Baltic Region” (dir. by prof. U. Dahl, Södertörn University, Stockholm). As the first project of its kind, this project focuses an understudied dimension of the livelihoods of sexual minorities within Baltic and Eastern European Studies; family making within and beyond legal recognition. Looking at and across three different national, cultural and legal contexts: Sweden, Finland and Poland, as well as with an additional setting studied in a Ph.D. project, it combines ethnographic and textual research on the effects of both new legislation and non-sanctioned forms of queer kinship, such as rainbow families, same-sex marriages, and queer community arrangements of care and inheritance. Through a unique research design based in intellectual kinship between project participants, all experts in queer theory, and combining data from existing and new studies, the project aims to make a substantive contribution to theories of kinship and family as they articulate with studies of ARTs and to making CBEES a centre for research on queer kinship in the Baltic region. Based in intersectional analysis, it attends not only to examine how (queer) kinship reproduce gender and sexuality but also to how questions of race/nationality, class and migration/citizenship are shaped by and shape such formations. In and through three senior research projects and a Ph.D. project, this collaboration proposes that by studying the state of contemporary queer kinship in the Baltic region, we gain new light on fundamental cultural and political questions. How, in short, do questions of (queer) kinship shape Baltic and European integration and modernization and what are the gendered and sexualized dimensions of political and economic “transitions” and imaginaries of the future? In critical dialogue with international scholarship, the project intervenes on the level of theory and seeks to decentre the Western, Anglo-American dominance of feminist and queer kinship studies as they relate to national identity, community making and social life. By examining contemporary kinship and inheritance legislation, it also contributes to the study of kinship as a target of new politics and policies in the EU. Emphasizing national specificities and cultural encounters both within and between these contexts and by highlighting local and transnational activism and community knowledge, the project centrally rejects a liberal narrative about progress that casts the “East” as “behind” the “West”, including with lesbian, gay, bi, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights. Instead it focuses complexities, nuances and exchanges in and across these nations’ respective legal and cultural frameworks and seeks to provide deepened knowledge of the socio-cultural and political situation of LGBTQ people at the present moment. At its broadest, the project asks: How are kinship and family bonds created, practiced and narrated among GLBTQ people, within and beyond the confines of the law? What challenges do these families meet in the three national contexts and how are they negotiated? How does queer kinship extend and reconfigure the meaning of kinship and family more broadly and what are the implications of this for Baltic cohesion and collaboration?

She is also a Partner and Co-Investigator in “Doing Right(s): Innovative tools for professionals working with LGBT families” (dir. by prof. F.de Cordova, University of Verona; http://sites.hss.univr.it/doingrights).

DOING RIGHT(S) is a project about social inclusion of LGBT headed households by means of developing complex and high quality skills for healthcare, educational services, law professionals. LGBT families and their children too often still present an unexpected and unknown world to the majority of professionals in healthcare, educational services, law practices and the courts across Europe. These particular new forms of family and parenting disrupt longstanding attitudes and expectations about what constitutes a family and the gender roles within it. National training curricula do not really address family diversity and the needs of non-heterosexual households. This widespread lack of professional training, the general absence of what we would call “strategic training for a culture that includes all,” puts LGBT families and their children under enormous pressure and difficulties as they have to find ways to fit into a system that does not contemplate their existence and has no effective tools to deal with their needs. In turn, this often relegates these families and children into a corner of invisibility where there are no rights, discrimination can get its way and opportunities for a better society are lost. Project’s aims:

  1. Identifying with interdisciplinary and cross-sector tools the major challenges these new families place to practitioners in Italy, Poland, Spain.
  2. Defining a set of professional competences needed to work with LGBT families in the different professional contexts.
  3. Developing a transnational, cross-sector and interdisciplinary training curriculum devoted to professionals dealing with LGBT families.
  4. Providing effective dissemination at the European level of the project’s outputs and outcomes fostering the adoption of such training curricula.

The partnership of the project is made of 3 academic institutions and 3 grassroots organisations: University of Verona (Applicant); Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences; Autonomous University of Barcelona; Tolerado, Casal Lambda; Health and Social Regional Agency, Regione Emilia Romagna. The entire team amounts to 25 researchers.