Christianity and Social Service in Modern Britain: The Disinherited Spirit

Paperback | April 17, 2008

byFrank Prochaska

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Few subjects bring out so well the differences between ourselves and our ancestors as the history of Christian charity. In an increasingly mobile and materialist world, in which culture has grown more national, indeed global, we no longer relate to the lost world of nineteenth-century parishlife. Today, we can hardly imagine a voluntary society that boasted millions of religious associations providing essential services, in which the public rarely saw a government official apart from the post office clerk. Against the background of the welfare state and the collapse of churchmembership, the very idea of Christian social reform has a quaint, Victorian air about it. In this elegantly written study of shifting British values, Frank Prochaska examines the importance of Christianity as an inspiration for political and social behaviour in the nineteenth century and the forces that undermined both religion and philanthropy in the twentieth. The waning of religionand the growth of government responsibility for social provision were closely intertwined. Prochaska shows how the creation of the modern British state undermined religious belief and customs of associational citizenship. In unravelling some of the complexities in the evolving relationship betweenvoluntarism and the state, the book presents a challenging new interpretation of Christian decline and democratic traditions in Britain.

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Few subjects bring out so well the differences between ourselves and our ancestors as the history of Christian charity. In an increasingly mobile and materialist world, in which culture has grown more national, indeed global, we no longer relate to the lost world of nineteenth-century parishlife. Today, we can hardly imagine a voluntar...

Frank Prochaska is Senior Research Scientist and Lecturer at Yale University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:228 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.56 inPublished:April 17, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199539790

ISBN - 13:9780199539796

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Background2. Schooling3. Visiting4. Mothering5. Nursing6. ForegroundNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

`...A very welcome interpretive study...'Jeremy Black, The Social Affairs Unit