I am world-leading in developing innovative and strategic research, theory and publication around one of the defining trajectories of the 21st century – namely the newly visible role and impact of religion and belief on public life, and its political, social, economic, urban, policy and theological implications at both global and local levels. I am the originator of spiritual capital theory in its current policy and academic discourse, a leading exponent of postsecular theory and a pioneer of the spatial turn in theology, as well as interdisciplinarity in the study of religion and belief for policy.
My particular focus is on the relationship between religion, belief and urbanisation, the role of religion and belief in public policy and social welfare, and the role of religion and belief in civil society and the reshaping of church within the urban environment. My work is focussed on the UK experience, but is also impacting on debates within Europe, the U.S. and Australia.
- Towards a Theology of New Towns: the implications of the New Town Experience for Urban Theology, University of Manchester. 2002
- M.Th in Liturgy and Pastoral Care (Distinction) Heythrop College, University of London (Distinction) 1992
- B.Th, Theology, University of Southampton 1986
- B.A, English Language and Literature, University of Manchester 1982
Teaching and Supervision
My research, publications and Ph.D recruitment fall into five areas.
Reimagining the future of welfare in 21st century Britain
Exploring theological and historical genealogies of the welfare state in the service of reimagining the future of welfare and social policy in 21st century Britain. I work with theological, historical, economic, and policy frameworks to look back to the intellectual, cultural and political contexts of the universal welfare state, with a view to framing a strategic reimagining of a new settlement for 21st century UK.
Modelling participation and redistributing power: mapping and analysing new forms of participation and partnership aimed at addressing issues of poverty and exclusion across traditional ideological and cultural divides. I analyse the trust-building, leadership, innovation, practices, techniques, values and ethics that these partnerships involve.
Leadership, governance and inclusion policy
Analysing the role of beliefs, values and worldviews in shaping individual motivations and actions in the workplace, which therefore also shape patterns of leadership and models of corporate governance towards tackling discrimination and exclusion in the workplace. What can the public and private sector learn from each other’s approaches in these areas?
Social policy for diversity and wellbeing
Engaging with a diversity of religion, belief and spirituality among service users for more effective policy around health and well-being, community cohesion, and security.
Religion, belief and urban and rural sustainability transitions
Developing policy frameworks with European partners that generate flow charts, baseline assessments and frameworks for impacts and evaluation that consciously identify and work with the grain of faith-based experience and imaginaries – but also beliefs, values and worldviews in general - to specifically act as deep points of leverage for fundamental systems change.
Publications and research outputs
Cloke, Paul; Baker, Christopher; Sutherland, Callum and Williams, Andrew. 2019. Geographies of Postsecularity: Re-envisioning Politics, Subjectivity and Ethics. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138946736
Baker, Christopher and Graham, Elaine. 2018. Theology for Changing Times : Essays in Honour of John Atherton. London: SCM Press. ISBN 9780334056959
Baker, Christopher; Crisp, Beth and Dinham, Adam. 2018. Re-imagining Religion and Belief: 21st Century Policy and Practice. Bristol: Policy Press. ISBN 9781447347095
Baker, Christopher. 2018. Postsecularity and a New Urban Politics—Spaces, Places and Imaginaries. In: Helmuth Berking; Silke Steets and Jochen Schwenk, eds. Religious Pluralism and the City Inquiries into Postsecular Urbanism. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 81-101. ISBN 9781350037687
Baker, Christopher. 2022. Volunteerism in a post- COVID Society: Lessons for Church and Society. Crucible, 2022(July),
Baker, Christopher. 2022. ‘Building Back Better’ and the search for values. Critically reclaiming Temple’s social thought for a post-pandemic policy landscape. Theology, 125(4), pp. 282-288. ISSN 0040-571X
Green, Roger and Baker, Christopher. 2022. Re-empowering into voice: experiments in organic community co-production. Community Development Journal, 57(2), pp. 277-294. ISSN 0010-3802
Reader, John; Jandrić, Petar and Baker, Christopher. 2021. Enchantment - Disenchantment-Re-Enchantment: Postdigital Relationships between Science, Philosophy, and Religion. Postdigital Science and Education, 3(3), pp. 934-965. ISSN 2524-4868
Baker, Christopher and Power, Maria. 2018. Ghosts in the Machine: Beliefs, Values and Worldviews in the Workplace and Business Environment. Journal of Beliefs and Values, 39(4), pp. 474-489. ISSN 1361-7672
Dinham, Adam and Baker, Christopher. 2017. New Interdisciplinary Spaces of Religions and Beliefs in Contemporary Thought and Practice: An Analysis. Religions, 8(2), 16. ISSN 2077-1444
Baker, Christopher. 2016. Faith in the public sphere – in search of a fair and compassionate society for the twenty-first century. Journal of Beliefs & Values, 37(3), pp. 259-272. ISSN 1361-7672
Baker, Christopher. 2016. Sustainable Governance in a Postsecular Public Sphere: Re-assessing the Role of Religion as a Cosmopolitan Policy Actor in a Diverse and Globalized Age. Sustainable Development, 24(3), pp. 190-198. ISSN 0968-0802
Stokes, Peter; Baker, Christopher and Lichy, Jessica. 2016. The Role of Embedded Individual Values, Belief and Attitudes and Spiritual Capital in Shaping Everyday Postsecular Organizational Culture. European Management Review, 13(1), pp. 37-51. ISSN 1740-4754
Baker, Christopher; Reader, John and Whistler, Daniel. 2015. Introduction to the Special Issue: Speculative Philosophies and Religious Practices. Political Theology, 13(2), pp. 141-155. ISSN 1462-317X
Baker, Christopher; Reader, John and James, Thomas A.. 2015. Entangled Fidelities: Towards a Relational Christian Realism for the Public Sphere. Political Theology, 16(3), pp. 247-263. ISSN 1462-317X
Baker, Christopher. 2013. Roots and shoots and the curious case of Schleiermacher’s tree (aka ‘Is rhizomatic truth seceding arborescent reality?). International Journal of Practical Theology, 17(2), ISSN 1430-6921
Baker, Christopher. 2013. Moral Freighting and Civic Engagement: A UK Perspective on Putnam and Campbell's Theory of Religious-Based Social Action. Sociology of Religion, 74(3), pp. 343-369. ISSN 1069-4404
Baker, Christopher and Jawad, Rana. 2012. Introduction: Social Policy and Religion in Contemporary Britain – Taking Stock and Moving Forward. Social Policy and Society, 11(04), pp. 547-551. ISSN 1474-7464
Baker, Christopher. 2012. Spiritual Capital and Economies of Grace: Redefining the Relationship between Religion and the Welfare State. Social Policy and Society, 11(04), pp. 565-576. ISSN 1474-7464
Baker, Christopher and Miles-Watson, Jonathan. 2010. Faith and Traditional Capitals: Defining the Public Scope of Spiritual and Religious Capital—A Literature Review. Implicit Religion, 13(1), ISSN 1463-9955
Baker, Christopher and Miles-Watson, Jonathan. 2008. Exploring Secular Spiritual Capital: An Engagement in Religious and Secular Dialogue for a Common Future? International Journal of Public Theology, 2(4), pp. 442-464. ISSN 1872-5171
Baker, Christopher. 2006. Hybridity and Practical Theology: In Praise of Blurred Encounters. Contact, 149(1), pp. 5-11. ISSN 1352-0806
Baker, Christopher. 2005. Going with the Flow: Can Christian Faith Communities in the UK Flourish in Non-Institutional Civil Society? Political Theology, 6(1), pp. 107-125. ISSN 1462-317X
Baker, Christopher and Timms, Stephen. 2022. Keeping the Faith 2.0 Embedding a new normal for partnership working in post-pandemic Britain. Project Report. All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society, London.
Baker, Christopher and APPG Faith and Society, Stephen Timms. 2020. Keeping the Faith. Partnerships between faith groups and local authorities during and beyond the pandemic. Project Report. APPG Faith and Society, Digital.
Further profile content
Postsecular Cities – space, theory and praxis
Interdisciplinary study of how religion reproduces the urban and how the urban reproduces religion.
A Philosophy of Christian Materialism – Entangled Fidelities and the Public
How theology is engaging with New Materialism as a way of shaping new responses to public challenges.
New Interdisciplinary Spaces of Religion and Belief in Contemporary Thought and Practice: an analysis
How Religion and Belief is being theorised and researched across the Arts and Humanities and the implications of this for Social Policy.
Re-imagining Religion and Belief for 21st Century Policy and Practice
New ideas and perspectives on religion and belief aimed at a policy audience
Geographies of Postsecularity – Re-envisioning politics, subjectivity and ethics
Explores the nature of new spaces of civic and political engagement across religious and secular divides