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.
Cloke, Paul; Baker, Christopher
Reader, John; Jandrić, Petar and Baker, Christopher
Stokes, Peter; Baker, Christopher
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