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Faith at breaking point: Building community in a time of insecurity

Faith at breaking point: Building community in a time of insecurity

Theos is embarking on a year–long research project involving local communities and stakeholders across England, Scotland and Wales, exploring the ways that economic insecurity affects how people relate to faith communities and other community groups.

If someone’s economic life is precarious, does that mean their spiritual life also is – or does faith act as an anchoring point of stability when little else can? What does it look like to hold community together when the majority of people in a congregation are on zero–hours contracts or in shift work and their time isn’t fully their own? And how do faith leaders meet the spiritual needs of temporary residents like displaced migrants and asylum seekers, or even private renters who might only be living in a particular area for a brief period of time?

Economic insecurity – or precarity – is increasingly being recognised as a problem distinct from (albeit related to) poverty and inequality. Yet while existing research focuses primarily on the economic drivers and consequences of precarity, Theos believes that the ways in which precarity hinders the build–up of spiritualand community capital merit greater attention. 

In a year–long research project involving local communities and stakeholders across England, Scotland and Wales, we are exploring the ways that economic insecurity affects how people relate to faith communities and other community groups.

The project will conclude in autumn 2022.

 

The authors

Theos Senior Researcher, Hannah Rich

Hannah joined Theos in November 2017. She is a mixed–methods researcher and author of several Theos reports including Growing Good (2020) and Beyond Left and Right (2021) and is currently leading our work on faith groups and economic insecurity. Previously, she worked for a social innovation think tank, a learning disability charity and as a care worker. Hannah studied French and Spanish at Durham University, including a year abroad working with faith–based organisations in Paris and Madrid. She also holds an MSc in Inequalities and Social Science from LSE.

Theos Researcher, Simon Perfect

Simon joined Theos in 2015. He is a researcher and tutor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where he leads distance–learning courses exploring Muslim communities in Britain and in other minority settings. He is co–author of the book ‘Freedom of Speech in Universities: Islam, Charities and Counter–terrorism’ (Routledge, 2021). Simon read History at the University of Cambridge and has an MA in the Study of Religions from SOAS.

 


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 Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Hannah Rich

Hannah Rich

Hannah joined Theos in 2017. She is a senior researcher working on theology and economic inequality. She is the author of ‘Growing Good’ (2020).

Watch, listen to or read more from Hannah Rich

Charity, Christianity, Church, Cost of living, Economy, Precarity

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