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Fair Trade and the Kingdom of God: examining Fair Trade action by churches as a form of Public Theology.

Dawson, Mark Jason (2017) Fair Trade and the Kingdom of God: examining Fair Trade action by churches as a form of Public Theology. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

As a theologically inspired action that has captured the attention of a wide public, Fair Trade action by churches can be viewed as a successful form of Public Theology. Despite the popularity of Fair Trade, and the considerable Church involvement in its promotion, little attention has been paid by academic theology to the public impact of church support for Fair Trade. This research sets out to correct this oversight by bringing together the study of Fair Trade and Public Theology for the greater illumination of both. Using a qualitative study, consisting of twenty-five in depth interviews of community stakeholders and churchgoers, this research asks to what extent, and in what ways, this action is ‘public’ and examines the nature and content of the theology of the churchgoers in regard to Fair Trade. This research contributes to the better understanding of the nature of support for Fair Trade. My investigation of the theology of the churchgoers indicates that their beliefs shape their understanding of what Fair Trade is. They view Fair Trade as an act of justice and as demonstration of Christian principles in action. The churchgoers’ desire for Fair Trade to ‘live up’ to these theologically inspired ideals leads them to defend forms of Fair Trade practice that offer a distinctive alternative to mainstream trade. My analysis of Fair Trade action by churches complements the existing body of knowledge on Public Theology, by offering detailed example of the practical outworking of some of the key points of discussion within the discourse. Using Fair Trade action by churches as a case study of a specific form of Public Theology in practice, I indicate the ways in which engagement between the Church and a wider audience can be balanced with the exercise of a distinctive theological voice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Public Theology; Fair Trade; the Church; Ordinary Theology; public sphere; social capital; religious capital
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.727217
Depositing User: Mr Mark J. Dawson
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2017 10:54
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 13:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18548

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