Faith in the public sphere – in search of a fair and compassionate society for the twenty-first century

Baker, Christopher. 2016. Faith in the public sphere – in search of a fair and compassionate society for the twenty-first century. Journal of Beliefs & Values, 37(3), pp. 259-272. ISSN 1361-7672 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article develops a keynote lecture delivered at the start of the Social Justice: Building a Fairer, More Equal Society conference, held to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Malvern Conference, convened by the Archbishop of York, William Temple, in 1941. In replication of that event’s methodology and structure, the article locates the presence of social justice within a social imaginary of a connected society that deploys foundational principles, worldviews and values from both religious and philosophical sources. These then form the basis of ‘middle axioms’ – i.e. broad areas of progressive social policy derived from these primary principles. The article addresses the post-‘Brexit’ context and the disconnected narratives that have contributed to it. It then assesses the public potential role of religion and belief to reconnect, as Temple did, social policy to foundational values and beliefs within an emerging post neo-liberal consensus. This is done with reference to social imaginary, spiritual capital and curating emerging spaces of ethical convergence and performative civil and political engagement.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Brexit, social imaginary, spiritual capital, belief, religion, politics

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)


25 October 2016Published Online
15 May 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

03 Oct 2017 13:47

Last Modified:

25 Jun 2019 11:31

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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