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Faith and Traditional Capitals: Defining the Public Scope of Spiritual and Religious Capital—A Literature Review

Issue: Vol 13 No. 1 (2010)

Journal: Implicit Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies

DOI: 10.1558/imre.v13i1.17


This discursive literature review was originally produced for the Leverhulme Trust in 2007 by the William Temple Foundation as a part of a research project to test the concept of religious capital (along with associated ideas of spiritual, faithful and religious social capital) with new empirical research. The research project aims also to explore emerging alternative paradigms to “capital” as a way of describing and evaluating the role and contribution of faiths to civil society. To that end, the article traces the historical development of the concept of social capital and its use by three influential thinkers in the field, namely Pierre Bourdieu, James Coleman and Robert Putnam. It then proceeds to map emerging
developments in the construction of definitions of religious and spiritual capital (and including ideas of religious social and faithful capital). It concludes with an extended discussion concerning some of the public policy implications of this research field, including the emerging concept of secular spiritual capital and its contribution to discerning common core values within the public domain.

Author: Chris Baker, Jonathan Miles-Watson

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