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Faith in the public realmControversies, policies and practices$
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Adam Dinham, Robert Furbey, and Vivien Lowndes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420305

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420305.001.0001

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How participation changes things: ‘inter-faith’, ‘multi-faith’ and a new public imaginary

How participation changes things: ‘inter-faith’, ‘multi-faith’ and a new public imaginary

(p.63) Four How participation changes things: ‘inter-faith’, ‘multi-faith’ and a new public imaginary
Faith in the public realm

Paul Weller

Policy Press

In the past few years, the ‘religious landscape’ of the UK has undergone massive change including the approach of the government to religions. Particularly at the local and regional levels, government and other public bodies have become engaged with initiatives, structures and organisations that have the contribution of religions to public life and civic society as their rationale. This chapter traces the diversity of faiths in Britain and shows how they are working together through inter-faith and multi-faith structures. It outlines the evolution of this diversity which begun with British colonialism and the exposure of Christians to other faiths. The chapter also traces the ‘coming home’ of these burgeoning relationships during the mid-twentieth century and with the end of the Empire and migration from former colonies. This mainstreaming of inter-faith and multi-faith work was a result of the growing politics of identity and difference in relation to faith as well as ethnicity. In this chapter, the focus is on multi-faith and inter-faith initiatives that are more persistent in space and time, specifically those that contribute to the wider societal context of ‘inter-religious relations’, understood as broader in scope and effect than initiatives to do with inter-faith dialogue as more narrowly conceived.

Keywords:   inter-faith initiatives, inter-faith initiatives structures, inter-faith organisations, diversity of faiths, multi-faith structures, inter-faith, multi-faith, inter-religious relations

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