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Durham e-Theses
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Faith, dialogue and difference in English Christian community work: learning “good practice”?

Orton, Andrew (2008) Faith, dialogue and difference in English Christian community work: learning “good practice”? Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines the impact of difference within English Christian community work practice, setting this work in the context of broader debates over the relationship between faith, politics, identity and practice. Several dimensions of difference are considered, including difference as diversity of practice, difference as contestation of practice, and difference as 'the other'. A multi-stage research design is employed to study these dimensions of difference further, based on analysing usage of the concept of 'good practice'. This concept is found to be continually defined, re-defined, applied into particular situations and contested through everyday interpretations, interactions and processes. The complexity of interests, relationships and structures at different levels are explored through consecutive case studies, highlighting both individual and organisational dynamics. An analysis of the data highlights several areas where current understandings and applications are creating counter-productive tendencies and dilemmas for all those involved. Questions of identity, purpose and learning are all found to be central to understanding and addressing these difficulties. Finally, a refined model of Christian community work is proposed that is based on informal education. This model begins to resolve these difficulties, thus helping to develop an improved understanding of this work to inform policy and practice.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:57

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