Post-Olympic Britain looks like a very different country from the brittle, post-riot Britain of 2011. However, despite the successes of 2012, Frances Ward argues that underlying tensions remain in our society because we have forgotten how to nurture belonging and trust. Tracing the origins of modern identity politics back to key Enlightenment thinkers, she offers an alternative model of citizenship to the excessive individualism of secular humanism. She examines the Church's role in shaping Western society in ways which are reflected in the Olympic spirit: belonging together (corporate rather than individualistic identity), about doing things as ends and not means (non-utilitarian, non-instrumental), and about developing character and virtue (rather than a sense of 'identity'). Writing in an accessible and engaging style, drawing on contemporary literature and particularly the work of Alexander McCall Smith and his fictional character Isabel Dalhousie, Ward explores ways in which twenty-first century society can be rebuilt and strengthened for the future.
Frances Ward is Dean of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich. She was formerly a Canon of Bradford Cathedral where she developed a particular interest in Islam and interfaith engagement. She is the co-editor of Fear and Friendship: Anglicans Engaging with Islam (2012).
Introduction / Part One / 1. The Secular Soul of Western Culture / 2. A Brittle Society / 3. The Legacy of Liberal Egalitarianism / Part Two / 4. Such a Thing as Society / 5. From Generation to Generation / 6. The Enlightenment Story / 7. The Play of Divine Wisdom / 8. The Best that the Anglican Church Can Give / 9. In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being / 10. Character Produces Hope / 11. Character Building / 12. The Role of Education / Conclusion / Postscript