Research Report: “Religion in Public Life: Levelling the Ground”, by Grace Davie

It is a commonplace, nowadays, to say that religion has returned to public life. And like most commonplaces it is partially true. Religion is most certainly present in public life in new and highly visible ways but to imply that religion was once nowhere and is now everywhere is seriously misleading.

We need instead to enquire into the factors that have brought about the current shift in perspective. That done, we must examine in detail the different – and at times contrasting – ways in which religion manifests itself is the very varied segments of society that we deem to be public.

In this report, sociologist of religion Professor Grace Davie draws on her 2016 Edward Cadbury Lectures to explore the ‘return’ of religion to public life, analysing a series of ‘levels’ – local, metropolitan, national, and global – and considering why and how we have got here, and what the future holds for religion in Britain. 

The report is available for download at https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/research/2017/10/28/religion-in-public-life-levelling-the-ground

Grace Davie is Professor Emeritus at the University of Exeter. She is author of numerous works on religion and society, including Religion in Britain: A Persistent Paradox (2015, 2nd edition).