Lilian Coates


Goethe-University Frankfurt
GRK Doing Transitions

IKB-Gebäude, 4th floor
Eschersheimer Landstraße 121
60322 Frankfurt am Main

postal address:
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1
IKB-Gebäude, Postfach 3
60323 Frankfurt am Main


Lilian Coates studied Sociology, Philosophy and Political Science at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz from 2007–2014 and at École des hautes études en sciences sociales Paris for one year in 2010/11. Her master’s thesis was dedicated to a critical reading of the works of Harold Garfinkel, the central founding figure of Ethnomethodology, especially focussing on his later “studies of work and science” and their phenomenological roots. From 2015–2020, she worked as a lecturer and researcher at the Department for Sociological Theory and Gender Studies at the Institute for Sociology of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Her research interests cover topics such as practice theories, ethnography, science studies and the sociology of death, dying and bereavement. In her dissertation project, she ethnographically examines the shaping and construction of the end of life and dying processes through end of life care in inpatient hospices. 

Life worlds at the End of Life: An Ethnography of Inpatient Hospice Care

Lilian’s dissertation project explores inpatient hospices as institutions in which the transition between life and death is professionally managed and shaped in specific ways. The project is interested in the practical accomplishment and construction of the “end of life” as a life phase in its own right and of dying processes, equally taking into consideration the perspectives of the various participants involved, i.e., end of life patients, professional hospice carers and relatives. Conceptually inspired by heuristics of practice theories, her project benefits from a range of ethnographic methods such as different forms of participant observation, ethnographic interviews and document analyses. The primary focus lies on the ‘local’ organization and situational unfolding of hospice work and palliative care, methodically calling for a deep immersion and sensitive participation of the ethnographer in various situations of the daily life in hospice settings. To this end, i.a., Lilian trained and worked as a hospice volunteer for over two years and participated in a three-month nursing apprenticeship in the hospice.  

Publications by Lilian Coates