Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles
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ERC Starting Grant CoachingRituals (Coaching as a social ritual: acting on people in a liberal-individualistic society (parenting, education, mental health care)



The major goal of this project is to establish a greater understanding of the pervasive and elusive practice of coaching (empowering people so that they produce themselves the changes they need) as a ritual action which is specific to liberal-individualistic societies that support the idea of a hidden potential in each of us.

This project will focus on the ways the coaching logic transforms three specific common social activities (parenting, teaching and mental health care) that have traditionally been characterized by an asymmetry between a person in a lower position and a person in a higher position. The multiplication of coaching devices in these fields however signals a loss of legitimacy of this feature. Through a comparative and empirically-grounded perspective, we will make the coaching ritual, its language game, applications and effects, into salient analysers of how we act nowadays on other peoples’ behaviour and emotions.


Marquis Nicolas.


sociology of liberal-individualistic societies / hidden potential ideal / performance and reception studies / mental health / education / parenting.