- News Brief
- Research & Policy
- Culture and Review
- Media Centre
Reach tens of thousands of people instantly by advertising with Ekklesia. Find out more
Research papers in the category Education and Culture.
Changes to the welfare system carried out by the 2010-2015 coalition government have had an enormous impact on some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people across Britain. We do not know yet what the long-term societal effects will be, but in the USA, where welfare reform was implemented in the late 1990’s, and where the architects of UK welfare reform found their inspiration, evidence has been emerging in recent months and years that there has been an increase in extreme poverty and a decreased life expectancy for claimants. In this research paper, Bernadette Meaden looks at the transatlantic anti-welfare ideology that has shaped responses in the UK, and sets out a detailed critique of current policies and assumptions. Reforming Welfare ends with a civic and Christian examination of an alternative approach which rejects punitive models in favour of an aspiration that all should 'fare well'.
In recent decades in the UK and beyond, the principle of social security has been under sustained attack. It is sometimes said that the world has changed so much since the early days of the ‘welfare state’ that the system is no longer fit for purpose. Among other criticisms, it is often claimed that current levels of social security are unaffordable and undermine people’s self-reliance by encouraging them to become dependent on the state. However there is mounting evidence to the contrary, argues author Savitri Hensman, though this is widely ignored by politicians and much of the media. In this paper she sets out the reasons for the dissolution of a notion of 'social security' for all. The concluding argument is for a refunding of the notion of good government within a context of mutualism, drawing on the influence of civil society and the contribution of Christians and others.
Young voters (here defined as 18 to 24-year-olds, including those who will be 18 year-olds by 7 May 2015) often discover themselves to be doubly damned. Through little fault of their own they may feel they have not much to say into the politics of the nation (because they have no real way to say it), and yet they are also condemned for caring too little about a political system that appears to them inaccessible and unconcerned. This paper argues that the system as it is at present is not sufficient and flexible enough to help young people to gain and maintain an interest in politics that would enable them to act and vote for what they believe in. It examines the current location of the young in British politics, considers what obstacles there are to their political engagement, sets out a broad and practical vision of change, and suggests ways to affirm the genuine representation of the young in British politics. It also looks at the role the churches and other civic groups may play in this area.
This pre-election 2015 paper from Ekklesia sets out in brief the scale of the housing crisis in Britain today, its impact on the poorest and most vulnerable, and the fundamental imbalances of wealth and distribution that characterise the current homes market. We suggest that re-investing in the social and mutual housing sectors for a broad socioeconomic swathe of the population – rather than creating ghettos of need – is critical to a fresh approach. As a modest contribution to the range of multi-layered policies that will be required to fix the housing system for this and future generations, we focus on a specific proposal from Paul Lusk for an intergenerational housing cooperative, the case for which is mapped out in detail. We then go on to note the positive role churches can play in challenging the current negative approach to housing as a social good and investment, highlighting the need to move from approaches which target the excluded poor towards ones which challenge the processes and policies that produce exclusion itself.
This research and discussion paper, revised in 2010 and re-issued in 2015, proposes that the figure of St George should be reclaimed according to his true, hidden story.
The earliest traditions of St George present him as a dissenter against the abuse of power, a contrast to religious crusades, a global figure we share with other nations, someone who offered hospitality to the vulnerable, and a champion of right rather than might.
This paper (originally entitled When the Saints Go Marching Out: Redefining St George for a new era) proposes that St George’s Day should be re-conceived and re-launched as a national day to celebrate - among other things - an English contribution to the history of freedom, justice and dissent.
We suggest that this should be based on the witness of people like the abolitionists, the suffragettes and those who have sought to combat racism, ethnic nationalism, debt, poverty, colonialism and war with the vision of a nation and world open to all - and a modern Britain / Europe of diverse peoples.
For the churches, we argue, St George can be a post-Christendom saint - one who takes us beyond 'the church of power', to the church of freedom and service. He is a Christian figure, but he does not ‘belong’ to Christians.
This means that, in his 'faithful nonconformity', the figure of St George invites the churches to become better followers of Jesus Christ - by abandoning reliance on a romanticised military past and (in the case of the Church of England) a legacy of Establishment privilege – and seeking a better way of equality, peace and justice.
Fear or Freedom?: Why a Warring Church Must Change by Simon Barrow (Ed)
The Subversive Manifesto: Lifting the Lid on God's Political Agenda by Jonathan Bartley
Faith and Politics After Christendom: The Church as a Movement for Anarchy by Jonathan Bartley
Consuming Passion: Why the Killing of Jesus Really Matters by Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley (Eds)
Threatened with Resurrection: The Difficult Peace of Christ by Simon Barrow