Prof. Christopher Baker

Staff details

Religions; beliefs; postsecularity; social policy; activism; urban regeneration; co-production; corporate governance.

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.

Academic qualifications

  • 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

Research interests

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.

Postsecular policy
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

Book Section

Baker, Christopher. 2018. Resisting the transcendent. In: Justin Beaumont, ed. The Routledge Handbook of Postsecularity. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138234147

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


Beaumont, Justin and Baker, Christopher. 2024. Recovering lost knowledges for transnational social justice. European Alternatives Journal, 4, pp. 20-25.

Baker, Christopher. 2023. Faith/Secular Partnerships in a Post COVID-19 Policy Landscape: A Critical Case Study of Deepening Postsecularity in the Temple Tradition. Journal of Church and State, 65(4), pp. 396-407. ISSN 0021-969X

Baker, Christopher. 2022. Volunteerism in a post- COVID Society: Lessons for Church and Society. Crucible, 2022(July),


Baker, Christopher and Cohen, Keren. 2023. Harnessing the Power of Faith: Resilience, Compassion and Psychological Well-being Amongst Women in Contexts of Global Precarity. Project Report. Goldsmiths, University of London, London.

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.