The UK government has identified Faith communities as important sources of 'social capital' in community development and regeneration. But religion is also associated with conflict and division. How far is this faith in 'Faith' justified? And how far should Faith communities comply?
This report assesses the debate and the evidence and summarises the controversies surrounding the idea of 'social capital' and the place of 'Faith' in community policy. It assesses the contribution of Faith communities to social capital that extends beyond bonding to build bridges and links with others in civil society; and identifies policy and practice implications for secular and Faith organisations and networks.
The research in the report encompasses five major Faith traditions across four English regions. It explores the nature and the quality of social capital stemming from Faith buildings, association; engagement with governance, and participation in the wider public domain.
This exploration of Faith communities and social capital is important for all who work to achieve well-connected communities. It will interest policy makers and researchers, those working in community development, regeneration and related fields, national and local Faith leaders and their communities, and all in the voluntary and community sectors.
Robert Furbey teaches urban sociology at Sheffield Hallam University where he contributes to the work of the Centre for Regional and Economic Social Research. Adam Dinham lectures and researches in social policy at Anglia Ruskin University. Richard Farnell teaches urban planning and regeneration at Coventry University, where he also contributes to the work of the Centre for Local Economic Development. Doreen Finneron is Executive Director of the Faith-Based Regeneration Network. Guy Wilkinson is National Inter Faith Relations Adviser and Secretary for Inter Faith Relations to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Introduction; Exploring 'social capital' and 'Faith'; Frameworks for Faith; People in places; People in spaces; Participation in local governance; Participation in the 'public domain'; Conclusion and policy implications.