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Postsecularity and Religious and Spiritual Capital – Locating the Faith and Social Welfare Debate University of Warwick, PowerPoint Presentation
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Postsecularity and Religious and Spiritual Capital – Locating the Faith and Social Welfare Debate University of Warwick, 6 th May, 2009 Dr Chris Baker William Temple Foundation University of Manchester Manchester Research Institute for Religion and Civil Society

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Postsecularity and Religious and Spiritual Capital – Locating the Faith and Social Welfare DebateUniversity of Warwick, 6th May, 2009

Dr Chris Baker

William Temple Foundation

University of Manchester

Manchester Research Institute for Religion and Civil Society

william temple foundation leverhulme trust research visit www wtf org uk
William Temple Foundation/Leverhulme Trust Research – visit www.wtf.org.uk
  • Faith and Traditional Capitals – defining the public scope of religious capital (2007 – 2010)
  • Aims
    • Map the existing literature on the public role and identity of faith groups in civil society in the UK and US (including ideas of religious and spiritual capital)
    • Test out how useful the concepts of spiritual and religious capital are to faith groups
    • See if there are more authentic alternative or supplementary concepts that better describe from the perspective of faith groups themselves, what they do and why they do it
outline of the faiths and social welfare debate
Outline of the Faiths and Social Welfare debate
  • The new social policy space – the post secular space which is now shared by secularism and religion/spirituality
  • How do we negotiate this new postsecular space – new tools/new language? – Religious and Spiritual capital
  • Opportunities and challenges of sharing this new space which can lead to blurred encounters– do we eat well or are we eaten?
from secularisation
From Secularisation ….
  • Berger – secularisation = ‘process by which sectors of society and culture are removed from the domination of religious institutions and symbols’ (The Social Reality of Religion 1973:113)
  • Wilson ‘ process by which religious institutions, actions and consciousness lose their significance’ (Religion in Sociological Perspective 1982: 149)
to desecularisation
To Desecularisation
  • Berger – ‘desecularisation’ – the re-emergence of ‘furious, supernaturalist, fundamentalist or conservative expressions of religion in politics/public life’ (1999: 6)
  • Habermas – ‘a postsecular self-understanding of society as a whole… the vigorous continuation of religion in a continually secularising environment …’ (2005; 26)
religious and spiritual capital as subsets of social capital the theoretical dimension
Religious and Spiritual capital – as subsets of Social capital - the Theoretical dimension.
  • Social Capital – the importance of relationships, networks and norms that can be used to enrich individuals and communities (Putnam, 2000)
  • Religious Capital: ‘… is the practical contribution to local and national life made by faith groups’ i.e. faith-based participation (Baker and Skinner, 2006) i.e. The ‘What’
  • Spiritual Capital: ‘ energises religious capital by providing a theological identity and worshipping tradition, but also a value system, moral vision and a basis for faith… is often embedded locally within faith groups, but also expressed in the lives of individuals’ (Baker and Skinner, 2006, 2009: 110) i.e. The Why and How
bringing spiritual and religious capital together is this the source of faith based added value

Figure 5: The virtuous cycle of spiritual and religious capital

Ethos

S C

R C

Moods

Bringing spiritual and religious capital together – is this the source of faith-based added value
  • The interaction of religious and spiritual capital – a virtuous cycle of capital production?
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The Vocabulary of Spiritual Capital (WTF – Faith in Action: the dynamic connection between spiritual and religious capital - 2006)
  • Christian based expressions:
    • Focuses on transforming people personally and spiritually as well as improving their area physically
    • Values personal stories
    • Believes implicitly or explicitly that God is at work in regeneration
    • Accepts strong emotion expressed and experienced – anger, frustration, cynicism, weariness etc – importance of feelings
    • Introduces values of self-emptying, forgiveness, transformation, risk-taking and openness to learning
    • Begins with intention of accepting those who have been rejected elsewhere
    • Values people’s inner resources and capacity to create their own solutions based on intangibles such as ideas and visions not exclusively claimed by a specific religious tradition
    • (close links to ‘secular spirituality’)
7 sources of spiritual capital secular research into happiness and wellbeing diener layard swinton
7 Sources of Spiritual Capital – secular research into happiness and wellbeing – Diener, Layard, Swinton
  • Comforting Beliefs
    • Positive emotions such as forgiveness, hope transformation

Connecting to a realty greater than self

Experience of ritual

Regulation of lifestyle and behaviour

Social support and networking

Growing up religiously

Philosophy of life

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Health warning – it may be desirable (to engage faith in social policy/partnership working in a postsecular), but is it possible?
  • Problem of Blurred Encounters?*
    • Mutually beneficial overlaps of ethos, philosophies and methods of working – a place at the table?
    • OR: a loss of essential identity or ethos/moral bearing and energising ethos
    • Derrida (1996) – the act of ‘hospitality’ (encountering the Other) involves risk: ‘Eating well or being eaten?’
    • Concept of regeneration – a linguistic space of blurred encounter – an elastic yet opaque word – semi-spiritual yet also utilitarian ‘They have stolen our words and not recognised us, not recognised what we are doing’. (Baker, 2009:108)
    • Exacerbated by a residual hostility to FBOs in LSPs for example (CUF, 2006), and a lack of religious literacy
  • ‘Blurred Encounters? Religious Literacy, spiritual capital and language’ in Dinham, A, Furbey, R. and Lowndes, V. (eds.) Faith in the Public Realm – Controversies, policies and practices (Bristol: Policy Perss, 2009)
transcendent vs immanent world views
Transcendent vs. Immanent world views
  • James Hopewell: Congregation: Stories and Structures (London: SCM Press, 1987) - Romantic, Tragic, Comic and Ironic types of story
    • First two categories see the self as part of a wider canvas of destiny, often involving a sense of sacrifice of will to a higher force – a Transcendent frame of reference in respect of authority as a basis for action
    • Other languages look to empirical evidence and humanly defined legal structures - a more Immanent frame of reference
    • Are we destined to work in parallel languages that rarely cross-over and connect? Or can we create a more dynamic and equal space where values and norms as well as policies and strategies can be explored?
    • The blurring of boundaries in a postsecular world, where we try and borrow each other’s languages for example) can be a frustrating, but also a creative process which holds promise for a better quality of discourse and politics because values and visi ons matter (to all of us)