About the project

The project’s rationale is the need to understand how governments’ promotion of the well-being of its citizens can be achieved in a multi-faith society where many people’s well-being has a significant religious component. Exactly how should the religious dimension of (some) citizens’ well-being should shape law, policy, and institutional design?

The project has five intersecting contexts. First, political debate on religious matters involves higher stakes than ever before. It is unarguable that religion is now a major part of the UK’s policy agenda. Second we are looking to create a more reasoned dialogue between academics, faith representatives and the policy community on matters of religion, law and policy. Third, there is ever greater appreciation – as evidenced by books, popular journals, and other media – of political philosophy’s potential contribution to public discussion. Fourth, theories of impartiality, recognition, citizenship and allied concepts recently developed by political philosophers are now hugely sophisticated, but too little put to practical test in the public arena. Fifth, as we discovered in our previous Toleration and the Public Sphere project, religious and ethnic conflict are inherently linked. As a result, this project is a natural successor to our previous work. was how much ethnic conflict was made more intractable by religious differences: this project, therefore, is a natural successor to it.

We have four aims:

  1. To evaluate the relationship between religious ideals, law and policy, especially with respect to welfarist measures;
  2. To uncover how Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and other religions (and their sub-communities) conceive their proper role in policy-making in the UK, and how legislators have responded to this;
  3. To give a wide and representative sample of key stakeholders in academic, religious and policy communities the opportunity to shape the project;
  4. To disseminate the results through printed publication and the internet.

Our network will test normative political theories by the evaluation of expert practitioners, while conversely seeking to shape public deliberation by their assimilation of normative theories. Practitioners’ perspectives and philosophical conclusions will be assessed by each other. To this ends we will organise five research seminars across the UK and a conference, to bring together philosophers, faith community leaders and policy practitioners. Seminars across the UK will enable fruitful regional comparisons of religion and policy.

Additionally, we will use this website – not only to publish our findings, but to foster debate and draw more people into our discussion. We hope you find it interesting and thought provoking. If you have any questions about the project, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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