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Ethics, Governance and Public Policy

This research area engages with the ever growing relevance of religious values, faith identities, and political theologies in public debates and policy developments. These involve ethical issues that present challenges to individuals and societies around the globe. Examples of these challenges are: the exercise and limits of religious freedom in democratic societies; maintaining social justice at times of crisis; and protecting and sustaining human life at all stages of its existence in order to promote human flourishing. We investigate the role of faith and faith-based organisations and movements in providing narratives of the common good. We also study their role in the mechanisms of global governance and international relations.

Area Leader: Dr Sara Silvestri

Research Projects

  • Faith and Public Policy (Sara Silvestri)
  • Religious Freedom in international and domestic politics (John Loughlin)
  • Migration and Catholic Social Teaching (Silvestri, Rowlands)
  • Catholic Social Teaching and the Big Society (John Loughlin)

Recent Publications

Professor John Loughlin

  • 2014. "Religion and Politics in Europe", in José Magone (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Comparative Politics. Routledge, London.
  • 2014. "The Theological and Secular Dimensions of the Modern State: historical and contemporary perspectives", in Ferran Requejo and Camil Ungureanu (eds), Secular or Post-secular Democracies in Europe? The Challenge of Religious Pluralism in the 21st Century, Routledge, London.
  • 2013. Loughlin, J. Allott, P., Crellin, R., The UK Government's 'Big Society' Programme and Catholic Social Teaching, Matthew James Publishing.
  • 2013. The Routledge Handbook of Regionalism and Federalism (ed. with J. Kincaid and W. Swenden), Routledge.
  • 2012. Which Path to Religious Freedom? A Catholic Perspective on International Affairs. Research report commissioned by the Caritas in Veritate Foundation (pdf).

Dr Sara Silvestri

  • 2014 (forthcoming). Europe’s Muslim Women: Beyond the Burqa Controversy, London: Hurst.
  • 2012. "Comparing burqa debates in Europe: sartorial styles, religious prescriptions and political ideologies", in Ferrari, S. and Pastorelli, S. (ed.), Religion in Public Spaces . Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
  • 2012. "Institutionalizing British and Italian Islam: Attitudes and Policies", in Yilmaz, H. and Aykaç, E. (ed.), Perceptions of Islam in Europe. Tauris Academic Studies.
  • 2012. "Social Cohesion and the Notion of 'Suspect Communities': a study of the experiences and impacts of being 'suspect' for Irish communities and Muslim communities in Britain" [co-authored with M.Hickman, L.Thomas, H.Nickels], Critical Terrorism Studies, 5: 1, Summer, pp.89-106.
  • 2012. "De/Constructing 'Suspect' Communities: A Critical Discourse Analysis of British Newspaper Coverage of Irish and Muslim Communities, 1974-2007" [co-authored with H.Nickels, L.Thomas, M.Hickman], Journalism Studies, 13: 3, June.
  • 2012. "Constructing 'Suspect' Communities and Britishness: Mapping British Press Coverage of Irish and Muslim Communities, 1974-2007" [co-authored with H.Nickels, L.Thomas, M.Hickman], European Journal of Communication, 27:2, June, pp. 135-151.

Public Lectures

  • Professor John Loughlin, panel on  “Vers une fédération européenne: avec, contre ou sans Dieu?” 13 March 2014, ULB Brussel.
  • Professor John Loughlin:  The Gaudium et Spes Lecture 2014: "Religion in the Public Sphere" Tuesday, 18th March 2014, Malta.
  • Professor John Loughlin: opening lecture European Federalism in Times of Crisis , Tuesday 11 March 2014 (Chaire Ganshof van der Meersch at the Université Libre de Bruxelles).
  • Professor Mary McAleese: Governing the Church: the imperative of Collegiality, Friday 28 February 2014, University of Cambridge.
  • Dr Sara Silvestri: guest lecture on Muslim women in Europe at the Universite' Libre de Bruxelles on 12 February 2014.


An interdisciplinary research hub inspired by Catholic thought and culture, focussed on contemporary global realities, and dedicated to encounter, dialogue, and transformation