Christian Responses to Marginalisation, Social Exclusion and Deep-Rooted Deprivation
This module will be delivered in 2018-19 academic year
The UK is the world’s sixth largest economy, and yet one in five people live below the official poverty line; 3.7 million children were living in poverty in 2014, a figure predicted to rise to 4.3 million by 2020. These headlines point to less visible drivers which exclude and marginalise the less well-off and often cause them to slip outside of the normal experience of mainstream society.
Motivated by the strong traditions within the Christian community of a ‘bias to the poor’, this module explores contemporary experiences of poverty in the UK and, by drawing on social scientific as well as theological resources, it seeks a deeper understanding of the social, spatial, political or spiritual arrangements that cause and sustain them. Consideration will then be given to the critical questions that these findings pose in relation to the church’s ecclesiology and missiology – including questions such as whether the current mainstream missional practices of the church offer a prophetic challenge to underlying drivers of marginalisation; how Christian responses avoid becoming incorporated into the wider movements of neoliberalism; whether the welfare state should be taken over by the church; and how responses can empower (rather than disempower) the poor?
Students will engage with a number of case studies through which they will gain understanding of how people from a variety of contexts experience groups such as the following: long-term residents of an ‘outer city’ estate; migrants and asylum seekers; and those who have precarious lifestyles through combinations of homelessness and mental ill-health. They will consider how practical-theological approaches might open up new, creative and imaginative approaches in these situations. The module will include and in-depth study of one such situation along with a seminar style presentation to the rest of the group.
For an informal conversation about study contact Mike Pears, Director of Urban Life, email@example.com