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Faith in the public realm

Faith in the public realm
Controversies, policies and practices

Adam Dinham, Robert Furbey, Vivien Lowndes
Paperback, 224 pages, 234 x 156 mm
Other formats available
28 Jan 2009


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North America customers can order this book here from the University of Chicago Press.

"This is a timely volume. ...well edited and well presented..."
James A Beckford in Journal of Contemporary Religion
" invaluable read for practitioners and policy-makers as well as academics interested in the area."
Rebecca Catto in Sociology
"...With its accessible style (each chapter may stand alone) and disciplined length, Faith in the Public Realm is an invaluable read for practitioners and policy-makers as well as academics interested in the area.' Rebecca Catto, Lancaster University
"This book could not be more urgently relevant, especially for those decision-makers currently grappling with seemingly intractable challenges in complex communities. Its special value, however, is the long-term commitment of the authors to painstaking enquiry and analysis. The result is more practical than polemical and all the more useful for it."
Lord Paul Tyler, Chair of the Faiths and Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London

About This Book

Based on primary research, this book explores the controversies, policies and practices of 'public faith', questioning perceptions of a fixed divide between religious and secular participants in public life and challenging prevailing concepts of a monolithic 'neutral' public realm. It takes an in-depth look at the distinctiveness of faith groups' contribution, but also probes the conflicts and dilemmas that arise, assessing the role and capacity of faith groups within specific public policy contexts, including education, regeneration, housing and community cohesion. 'Faith in the public realm' will be of interest to students, academics, policy-makers and practitioners in the public and voluntary sectors, and in faith communities themselves.

Author Biography

Adam Dinham is Reader in Social Policy and Director of the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has practised as a Social Worker and Community Development Worker and researches extensively on the public role of faiths. He is also Visiting Professor at the University of Calgary and advisor to the Faith Based Regeneration Network. Robert Furbey is Principal Lecturer in Urban Sociology at Sheffield Hallam University. He has contributed to several major research projects exploring the engagement of religious organisations and communities in public life.  Professor Vivien Lowndes is Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) at De Montfort University, Leicester. She has published widely on local governance and citizen participation and has undertaken pioneering research on the changing role of faith groups in public life.


Faith and the public realm ~ Adam Dinham and Vivien Lowndes
Controversies of 'public faith' ~ Robert Furbey; 'Soft' segregation: Muslim identity, British secularism and inequality ~ David Cheesman and Nazia Khanum
How participation changes things: 'Inter-faith', 'multi-faith' and a new public imaginary ~ Paul Weller
Faith, multiculturalism and social cohesion: A policy conversation ~ Ted Cantle, Dilwar Hussain and Maqsood Ahmed In conversation
Blurred encounters? Religious literacy, spiritual capital and language ~ Christopher Baker
Religion, political participation and civic engagement: Women's experiences ~ Brenda O'Neill
Young people and faith activism: British Muslim youth - glocalisation and the umma ~ Richard Gale and Therese O'Toole
Faith-based schools: Institutionalising parallel lives? ~ John Flint
Faith, government and regeneration: A contested discourse ~ Richard Farnell
Faith and the voluntary sector: Distinctive yet similar? ~ Rachael Chapman
Conclusions ~ Adam Dinham, Robert Furbey and Vivien Lowndes.


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