Faith in the Public Realm: Controversies, Policies and Practices

The public presence of religious faith in the UK and other Western nations is persistently and increasingly evident, despite the belief that it would retreat into insignificance and private obscurity. Policy makers now actively seek to engage with faiths in the provision of public services, local governance and the search for community cohesion. Faith in the public realm takes an explicitly multi-faith perspective, exploring the controversies, policies and practices of 'public faith'. It questions perceptions of a fixed divide between religious and secular participants in public life and challenges prevailing concepts of a monolithic 'neutral' public realm.Based on primary research, the book takes an in-depth look at the distinctiveness of faith groups' contribution, but also probes the conflicts and dilemmas that arise. It assesses the role and capacity of faith groups within specific public policy contexts - including education, regeneration, housing and community cohesion - and pays particular attention to the activities of young people and of women. Faith in the Public Realm addresses a new and increasingly important topic and so will be of interest to students, academics, policy-makers and practitioners in the public and voluntary sectors, and in faith communities themselves.