Curating Spaces of Hope: Towards a Liminal, Rhizomatic and Productive Paradigm of Faith Based Organisations (FBOs)

Barber-Rowell, Matthew. 2021. Curating Spaces of Hope: Towards a Liminal, Rhizomatic and Productive Paradigm of Faith Based Organisations (FBOs). Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

My thesis offers a new paradigm of Faith Based Organisations (FBOs), called Spaces of Hope (SoH). SoH is defined in terms of, liminality, difference and creative potential, rhizomatic or non-linear forms, and the coproduction of shared values. The thesis utilises the literatures of geographies of postsecularity, social policy, sociology of religion, and spatial public theology, to locate SoH in response to calls for a new definition of FBOs (Johnsen, 2014). I utilise assemblage theory (Deleuze and Guattari, 1988 [2016]), actor network theory (Latour, 2007), and mixed methodologies to map socio-material flows across three ethnographic sites in northwest urban locations. My research identifies six modalities of SoH; 1) Type of relationships, 2) Leadership, roles, and responsibilities, 3) Sources of motivation, 4) FBOs at the interface with public space, 5) Stories; prophecy and authenticity, 6) Administrative and relational flows. I use these modalities to map the socio-material nuances of space, with respect to power, assets, leadership and alliances.

SoH contributes to knowledge in the following ways: 1) Offering a new paradigm of FBO, synthesising; scale (Cnaan, et al., 1999), belief saturation (Smith, 2002), type of engagement (Herman, et al., 2012) and spheres of life; economic, political, and social (Cloke and Pears, 2016). This is a paradigm shift from Putnam’s (2000) paradigm of FBOs. 2) Updating the Temple Tradition of Public Theology, offering a new consultative methodology characterized by potential and concrete forms of power, new definitions of faith-based asset assemblages, new principles for curation / leadership and principles for alliance building between those of different beliefs values and worldviews. 3) Mapping tools for geographies of postsecularity. 4) Offering new definitions of faith-based assets; normative, resource, governance and prophetic within social policy. 5) Offering a new paradigm for discerning different beliefs values and worldviews, as part of the diversifying faith and belief landscape.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Paradigm; Paradigm Shift; Faith Based Organisation; FBO; Coproduction; Postsecularity; Urban Geography; Social Policy; Sociology of Religion; Public Theology; William Temple; Temple Tradition; Assemblage Theory; Actor Network Theory; Ethnography; Socio-Material Nuances of Space

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)


30 April 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Jul 2021 11:49

Last Modified:

14 Jul 2021 11:49


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