Friday, January 11, 2008


Rethinking Religion in an Open Society (Ekklesia, 10 Jan 08). Though the role of religion in society has come back onto the agenda with a vengeance (sometimes literally) over the seven years that have elapsed since 9/11, the political, spiritual and intellectual resources at our disposal for handling the issues involved seem perilously thin on all sides in public life. This paper aims to reconstruct some key terms in the debate and to offer a positive case for a 'disestablished' form for religion within a plural social and political order. In particular it suggests that the alternative to hegemonic religion or attempts to exclude religion from public life lies in the rediscovery of an alternative form of politics rooted in practical 'goods' and 'virtues' derived from different communities and traditions, accompanied by the development of a 'civil state' framework. Full article here.

The paper is an expanded version of one entitled ‘The case for disestablished religion in a plural society’ that I delivered at the 9 January 2008 Religion & Society Seminar at Oxford University’s Department of Politics and International Relations Public Policy Unit – with support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The original paper will shortly be available on the website of the Religion & Secularism Network at Cambridge University.

No comments: