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Sociology Research


Dr Marcin W. Smietana is a research associate at ReproSoc, the Reproductive Sociology Research Group, at the Department of Sociology of the University of Cambridge, as a postdoc fellow within the Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship of the European Union, working with Prof. Sarah Franklin, from April 2016 through March 2017. He spent the outgoing phase of this postdoc project (October 2014 through March 2016) at the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies of the University of California, Berkeley (USA), working with Prof. Charis Thompson.

Since 2011, Marcin has also been a member of the AFIN (Adoptions, Families, Infancies) research group at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He completed his PhD in Sociology at the Department of Sociological Theory, University of Barcelona (Spain) with the Doctor Europaeus mention in 2011. From 2007 to 2010, Marcin was a research fellow at the Department of Sociological Theory and the Centre of Research in Theories and Practices that Overcome Social Inequalities (CREA-UB), with the support of the FI fellowship of the Government of Catalonia and the European Social Fund for the Training of Research Staff. For three years at that time he was also an assistant teacher of Sociology of Education at the University of Barcelona. In 2010 Marcin was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Family Research of the University of Cambridge (UK). He received his MA degrees in Sociology (2006), as well as in Journalism and Social Communication (2004), at the Jagiellonian University in his native Cracow (Poland).

Research Interests

Marcin's current research focuses on transnational surrogacy, assisted reproduction, gay parenting, family & kinship, the body and reproductive justice, science & technology, and bio-politics of reproduction. Within his postdoc project (‘SurrogARTs: Assisted reproduction beyond the nation state and nuclear family? Transition to parenthood and negotiating relatedness in families created through surrogacy’), he has been exploring how family formation through surrogacy is experienced and shaped by all involved parties: intended parents, surrogates, egg donors, and agency or clinic practitioners.

Marcin's qualitative fieldwork with ethnographic elements includes commercial surrogacy (both transnational and domestic) in the US, as well as domestic altruistic surrogacy in the UK. Please see the project website at

In his work with the AFIN research group in Barcelona (particularly the previous research project on 'Adoptions and fosterages in Spain') he has investigated transnational surrogacy from the Spanish commissioning parents' perspective. In his research-based PhD dissertation, Marcin explored the question of how gender and family were constructed by Spanish gay father families both at home and in their social milieus such as schools, in order to see how and with what consequences potential differences between those two worlds were negotiated. Marcin's research interests have revolved around the sociology of non-normative families, sexualities and lifestyles, notably gay father families, including surrogacy and adoption. The latter have also led him to engage with the global perspective. For future research Marcin is also interested in the questions of bio-politics of the human vs. nonhuman, sustainability, and community.

Research Projects

'SurrogARTs - Assisted reproduction beyond the nation state and the nuclear family?' (co-PI)

Postdoc supervisors: Professor Sarah Franklin (the University of Cambridge) and Professor Charis Thompson (UC Berkeley)



Possibly participation in the courses taught by ReproSoc and Prof. Sarah Franklin, and in mentoring.

Graduate supervision availability and interests:

Marcin is possibly available for undergrad supervision (following supervision within the URAP and Mellon Mays programmes at UC Berkeley), for projects or research apprentices related to his current postdoc project. Possible related subjects: transnational surrogacy, assisted reproduction, gay parenting, family & kinship, the body and reproductive justice, science & technology, biopolitics.

Key Publications - Books

Slany K., Kowalska B., & Smietana M., eds. (2005) Homoseksualizm: Perspektywa interdyscyplinarna. Kraków: Nomos.

Key Publications - Book Chapters

Smietana, M. (in press, 2016). ‘Families like we’d always known’? Spanish gay fathers’ normalization narratives in transnational surrogacy. In: M. Lie, & N. Lykke (eds.) Assisted Reproduction across Borders: Feminist Perspectives on Normalizations, Disruptions and Transmissions. Routledge. 

Smietana, M., Jennings, S., Herbrand, C., & Golombok, S. (2014). Family relationships in gay father families. In: T. Freeman, F. Ebtehaj, S. Graham, & M. Richards M. (eds.) Relatedness in Assisted Reproduction: Families, Origins and Identities, pp. 192-211. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Smietana, M. (2013). Las paternidades y maternidades en las familias de padres gays creadas por gestación subrogada. In: J. Bestard, C. López, & D. Marre (eds.) Procreación, maternidades y crianza en transformación, pp. 203-220. Barcelona: Bellaterra. 

Smietana, M. (2011). Matczyni ojcowie? Męskość i kobiecość w hiszpańskich rodzinach gejów. In: E. Ciaputa, & K. Wojnicka (eds.) Karuzela z mężczyznami: Kategorie męskości w polskich badaniach społecznych. Kraków: Impuls. 

Grants and Projects

Smietana, M. (PI) and Franklin, S (SD). SurrogARTs Project. European Commission (EC) Marie Curie Award (2013-2016): €239,282

Smietana, M. Government of Catalonia and European Social Fund, ‘Family-based affirmative action? Subversion and resilience strategies of gay father families’ (FI: Formació de Personal Investigador - Training of Research Staff). 1 January 2007- 31 December 2010, 50.000 EUR. 

Smietana, M. Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, ‘Adoptions and fosterages in Spain: Tracing challenges, opportunities and problems in the social and family lives of children and adolescents’ (coordinated R+D research group project). 1 January 2013 – 31 December 2015. 

Research Groups & Affiliations

Job Title:
Research Associate, Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at ReproSoc