Healing or dealing? Neospiritual Therapies and Coaching as Individual Meaning and Social Discipline in Late Modern Swedish Society

Forskningsoutput: Kapitel i bok/rapport/Conference proceedingKapitel samlingsverk


This book chapter examines the rapidly expansion of various neospiritual and science-like practices currently mobilized in late modern Swedish pursuits of identity, meaning, and health. The focus is on the emergence and marketing of new entrepreneurs who have established themselves as “therapists” or “coaches”, promoting personal development, and how they organize their own systems of training and certification. Publicly financed institutions at local, regional, and national levels increasingly purchase such services for the benefit of their clients and personnel. The recent Swedish surge in unemployment, for instance, was met in 2009 by huge public investments in personal “coaching” for the unemployed, in which the individual are encourage to search for his or her hidden potential, fortify self-confidence and write CV:s concerning not only working skills but also include personality. The development of a new outlook on the Self are thus in focus, i.e. the individual is creating new ways of how to stage him- or herself in order to get a job more than actually just practically look for a job. In this construction of a new Self, or at least an image of an eligible Self, the coach (or in other practices, like life coaching, the neospiritual therapist) are strongly needed and the discourse of the dialogue is most often put in spiritual or science-like words.
I will discuss how these neospiritual discourses and science-like practices are introduced and applied in Swedish society, how they cater to individual pursuits of meaning, and how they contribute to socially acceptable expressions of discontent. Some perspectives of both entrepreneurs and their clients are presented, and since the new practices are sold on the market, marketing strategies are analyzed. At the end of this chapter, I will make some comments on the relationship between spirituality, the new practices and the secular state.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Religionshistoria


Titel på värdpublikationReligion in Consumer Society: Brands, Consumers and Markets
RedaktörerFrancois Gauthier, Tuomas Martikainen
ISBN (tryckt)9781409449867
StatusPublished - 2013
Peer review utfördJa