Handbook on Society and Social Policy
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Handbook on Society and Social Policy

Edited by Nicholas Ellison and Tina Haux

This comprehensive Handbook provides a unique overview of the key issues and challenges facing society and social policy in the twenty-first century, discussing how welfare is conceptualised, organised and delivered in contemporary global society. Chapters engage with specific areas of social policy as well as with the social divisions and institutional infrastructures that underpin them. The Handbook also considers how social policy should respond to the challenges posed by austerity, human migration and the climate crisis.
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Chapter 8: Religion, belief and public policy

Adam Dinham


Religion and belief are really prominent across the West, despite the assumptions of their disappearance to a vanishing point which dominated much of the twentieth century and which continues to hang over in contemporary public policy and professional practice. This chapter argues that religion and belief need to be reimagined across public spheres – workplaces and civil society spaces where the majority of people meet and interact. The key point is that religion and belief have become both more visible and more fluid in the twenty-first century and this is not something that sits easily with the more defined frameworks and parameters that characterize policy and policymaking. The challenge, then, following forty years or more of neoliberal and secular influences on the public sphere is to fashion new forms of civil society and governance that take religious and belief identities seriously.

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