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Religious London

Religious London

London is bucking nationwide trends and becoming more religious. The project seeks to analyse this phenomenon and offer evidence–based recommendations to decision makers on accommodating, practically responding to and making the most of religious diversity in London. (Upcoming)

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The researchers for this project are Paul Bickley, Nathan Mladin and Amy Plender. 

London is bucking nationwide trends and becoming more religious. Existing research suggests that people in London are not just more likely to belong to a particular religion, but to actively participate by, for instance, attending services on a regular basis.

London’s religious micro–climate is paradoxical: a secular, liberal and cosmopolitan city in which religion is becoming more visible and significant.

In light of this paradox, this project seeks to answer the following questions:

  •  What is the religious make up of London? How has it changed since the last census? How does religious change in London compare to other regions of the UK, and are there marked sub–regional trends?
  •  How does religion bring people together and divide them? Does London’s exceptional religiosity result in a different set of social values? What does religious difference mean for social integration?
  •  How are public authorities and public services accommodating this religious and social diversity? Is it best managed through secularism (holding religious expression out of public spaces etc)? What other models of managing religious difference already exist, whether domestically or abroad, and how successful are they?
  • What new practical challenges come from increased religious diversity? These may include end of life services, child protection, planning concerns and health issues. How can challenges be tackled?
  • What are the emerging opportunities? How does higher than average religious identification affect levels of volunteering, civic participation and social activism? How do religious groups respond to secular assumptions about the need for a neutrality in the public square – do they perceive themselves as marginalised?

Research approach

The project mixes several methods of study, including surveying and collating existing research, new polling data on the growth and decline of different religious communities in London, and the association of religion with different value perspectives. We are also conducting interviews with religious leaders and public officials and developing case studies looking at areas of London that are particularly religious (e.g. Newham, Tower Hamlets) and non–religious respectively (e.g. Camden–Islington).

Objective

The key objective of the project is to offer evidence–based recommendations to decision makers on accommodating, practically responding to and making the most of religious diversity in London.

Output

The main output of the project will be a full report detailing the findings, analysis and recommendations from the research project. This will be accompanied by a shorter version/ digest of the report and other digital assets, such as infographics, short videos, and other types of content to raise awareness and disseminate the findings of the research.

Image by I Wei Huang under a shutterstock licence. 

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