Historically, European churches have played a large part in the provision of welfare. Responsibility, however, has gradually shifted to the state - a shift that forms an integral part of the process of secularization and one that has been readily accepted by European populations. But what happens when the state itself begins to recede - a process that is occurring in most, if not all, European societies for a wide variety of reasons? The implications for welfare are considerable, not least for the role of the churches which begin to resume the responsibilities previously shed but in new and different ways. This book looks at the connections between religion and welfare in Europe, exploring in detail eight European societies - Finland, Norway, Sweden, England, Germany, France, Italy and Greece. The different theological traditions, different church-state relationships and different welfare regimes are all examined. The analysis is based on first hand empirical research which considers not only the changing situation on the ground, but attitudes towards this within a range of different constituencies - the churches, local government and the general public. Particular attention is paid to the significance of gender in both the process of change and in attitudes towards this. Welfare and Religion in 21st Century Europe: Volume 1 represents comparative research at its best and highlights key policy implications for the future. A companion book, Welfare and Religion in 21st Century Europe: Volume 2 explores thematically the changing nature of religion and welfare and the new relationships that are emerging between the religious and the secular, and between church and state in the 21st century.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; The WREP project: genesis, structure and scope, Anders BÃ¤ckstrÃ¶m and Grace Davie; Welfare in Western Europe: existing regimes and patterns of change, Eva Jeppsson Grassman; The Church of Sweden: a church for all, especially the most vulnerable, Ninna Edgardh and Per Pettersson; Sacred welfare agents in secular welfare space: the Church of Norway in Drammen, Olav Helge Angell; The church as a place of encounter: communality and the good life in Finland, Anne Birgitta Pessi; The German dilemma: Protestant agents of welfare in Reutlingen, Annette Leis-Peters; The 'in-between' church: church and welfare in Darlington, Martha Middlemiss Lé Mon; Church-state relations in France in the field of welfare: a hidden complementarity, Corinne Valasik; What kind of church? What kind of welfare? Conflicting views in the Italian case, Annalisa Frisina; The disgraceful and the divine in Greek welfare: the cases of Thiva and Livadeia, Effie Fokas and Lina Molokotos-Liederman; A preliminary conclusion: gathering the threads and moving on, Anders BÃ¤ckstrÃ¶m and Grace Davie; Appendices; Bibliography; Index
’... the contributors ably show how questions of religious identity and belonging are central in understanding the welfare-religion relationship. ... The researchers forecast a greater role for religious groups in welfare provision, not only because of financial strains in most systems and aging populations, but also because of the more personal approach and cultivation of 'local knowledge' that characterize these groups. Yet, at the same time, the secularization well advanced in most of these countries means that churches are struggling to sustain their core functions, and that welfare recipients may not be very receptive to a faith-based approach.’ Religion Watch 'In a carefully designed collaborative volume, the editors and contributors uncover a relationship between religion and welfare in Europe that is diverse, complex, and pervasively relevant.' Journal of Contemporary Religion '... a particularly valuable contribution...' Journal of Social Policy ’This well-organized project is both informative and challenging and shows that the churches still have the potential to enhance rather than diminish the lives of Europeans, even though there may well be, as there always has been, a tension between the pastoral and the prophetic.’ Theology