The need to reimagine religion and belief is precipitated by their greater visibility in public life. Meanwhile, social policy responses often see them from a problem-based, rather than an asset-based, approach. However, with growing diversity of religion and belief in every sector comes the potential for new dialogues across previously impermeable policy and disciplinary silos.
This volume brings together leading international authors to critically consider these challenges within legal and policy frameworks, including security and cohesion, welfare, law, health and social care, inequality, cohesion, extremism, migration and abuse. It challenges policy makers to re-imagine religion and belief as an integral part of public life that contains resources, practices, forms of knowledge and experience that are essential to a coherent policy approach to diversity, enhanced democracy and participation.
Professor Chris Baker is William Temple Professor of Religion and Public Life in the Faiths & Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London and Director of Research, William Temple Foundation. He critically analyses the impact religion and public life have on politics and public policy in the UK and beyond. He teaches and researches around the relationship between religion and secularism in an increasingly diverse and fluid public sphere. His work is interdisciplinary, including political philosophy, sociology and human geography and public policy.
Professor Adam Dinham is Professor of Faith & Public Policy and Director, Faiths & Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London. His work focuses on religion through faith-based social action, faith-related social policy, and professional practice with religiously diverse publics. Adam convenes the leading policy-practice-research network on faith and civil society and is advisor to a number of national and international policy bodies. He is director of the Religious Literacy Leadership Programme, Professor of Religious Literacy at VID University, Oslo, Chair of the British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group (BSA Socrel), and Fellow of the Westminster Abbey Institute for Faith and Public Life.
Professor Beth R. Crisp is the Discipline Leader for Social Work in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University, Australia. She has extensive experience in the international social work arena where she works on the place of religion and spirituality within the context of secular demands on welfare provision and the place of religion and spirituality in challenging and sustaining social exclusion. Her work is also informed from her studies in Political Science and Theology, longstanding collaborations with colleagues in Public Health and living a life in which ecumenical dialogue is a daily reality.
Introduction ~ Chris Baker, Beth R Crisp and Adam Dinham;
Part 1: Re-imagining Religious Spaces;
Chapter 1: Negotiating Religion and Belief in the Public Sphere – definitions, debates and controversies ~ Chris Baker and Adam Dinham;
Chapter 2: Geographical Landscapes of Religion ~ Professor Paul Cloke, University of Exeter, UK and Dr Andy Williams, University of Cardiff;
Chapter 3: Spatial Methodology in the Study of Diasporic Religions: the example of Shia Muslim Networks in Britain ~ Professor Oliver Scharbrodt, University of Chester, UK;
Part 2: Re-imagining Public Policy and Practice;
Chapter 4: Law and Religion: a survey of cases in the UK and what they reveal ~ Professor Lucy Vickers, Oxford Brookes University, UK;
Chapter 5: Reading Religion through Legal Decisions and Reactions to Them ~ Professor Lori Beaman, University of Ottawa, Canada;
Chapter 6: Re-imagining the Place of Religion in Social Work ~ Professor Beth Crisp, Deakin University, Australia;
Chapter 7: Religion and World-view in the Context of Civil Society and Welfare: perspectives from the Nordic countries and Germany ~ Dr. Annette Leis-Peters, VID University, Oslo, Norway;
Part 3: Re-imagining the future;
Chapter 8: Religious Dimensions of Postcolonial Policy in Australia ~ Mark Brett, Whitley College;
Chapter 9: Religion, Cohesion and Peace ~ Professor Diane L. Moore, Harvard Divinity School, USA;
Chapter 10: Conclusion: Policy Futures for Religion and Belief ~ Chris Baker, Beth R Crisp and Adam Dinham.