The essays grouped together in this volume look from differing angles at the crisis of condence faced by the contemporary state. What we see is the decline of the authority once associated with the Western nation-state as a source of public order and as a defender of cultural identity. Multiplying and contradictory rights claims, the breakdown of a shared political frame of reference, and attempts by public administration to micromanage society have all contributed to the threat to authority. What remains to be asked is whether the Western paradigm of the state can be restored to the basis of public faith.
Religion and Public Life promotes topical interdisciplinary research and discussion on wide-ranging ethical and philosophical issues at the intersection of religion and civil society. The series provides a platform for international scholarly discussion through the publication of thematic issues that cut across disciplines. Recent issues have addressed Politics in Theology, Faith, War and Violence, Faith in Science, and Justice and the Politics of Memory. A forthcoming issue, Natural Communions, addresses eco-spirituality and theological naturalism.