INVESTING IN THE ‘FAITHFUL CAPITAL’ AS A MEANS TO SOCIAL CHANGE AND POLITICAL IMAGINATION
BRITISH CONTEXT WITH SOME GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS
Faith in the City report (1985) by the Anglican Commission on Urban Priority Areas focused on the rapidly changing context of the inner city life of Great Britain. Faithful Cities report (2006) by the Anglican Commission on Urban Life & Faith addresses key issues and debates on social cohesion and regeneration in the country. Both these documents provide evidence based material, analysis, political imagination and direction for those interested in socio-political change. This paper acknowledges the fertile tapestry of faith traditions within the UK. It argues the importance of recognising, affi rming, and enhancing the user-ledfaith-community work and its grassroots institutional infrastructure in the present inner city contexts. The communities rooted in diff erent faith traditions are obliged therefore by their affi liation to the faiths’ inner vitality to search for new ways of being eff ective instruments of social change, spiritual revival and cultural resurgence in contemporary society. If the ‘faithful’ wish to coexist in diversity, there is a clear option, either to engage in socio-political and religio-cultural life, and be a part of wider society, or face self marginalization in isolation. The concept of the ‘faithful capital’ signifi es a renewed understanding of faith in action, and actions in faithfulness to the tradition that people believe and belong. A robust ‘return to religious faith’ and ‘resurgence of faith’ convey an astute rootedness, affi rmation of identity in one’s faith, a conquest for space, and social mobility in the public domain. The return of religion in public and secular realms and its manifestations portray both a possibility of an investment in that ‘faithful capital’ for social change, while un-channeled religious fervor may be starkly counterproductive and lead to balkanisation of society that the very religious traditions campaign to foster.
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