The Violence of Poverty and Christian Activism in the Age of Austerity

RGTRP, Adam Room, Grove House

Speaker: Dr Chris Shannahan (Coventry University)
Time: 11.30 am - 12.45 pm

Over the last ten years Churches and Christian NGOs have become key players in the struggle to defeat rapidly increasing austerity age poverty. Drawing on original data from the current ‘Life on the Breadline…’ project, this paper will establish a dialogue between Peace Studies and Liberation Theology in order to critically examine ‘caring’, ‘campaigning’ and ‘enterprise’ Christian responses to the direct, structural and cultural violence of intersectional poverty. In an era characterised by ideologically driven austerity the paper will show how Christian engagement with poverty can move beyond ‘bandaging the broken’ to ‘drive a spoke into the wheel of injustice’ (Bonhoeffer).

Chris Shannahan is a political theologian whose work focuses on the intersection between theology and struggles for social justice. His research focuses on theology and poverty, theology and racial justice and theology and faith-based political activism. He has previously worked as a youth worker in Kingston, Jamaica; a community organiser and an inner-city Methodist Minister. Having taught at the University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester he is currently an Associate Professor in Political Theology and Director of Postgraduate Teaching at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University where he is leading a three year ESRC funded project entitled ‘Life on the Breadline’, which is exploring Christian responses to urban poverty in the UK since the 2008 financial crash.

Click here for the full RGTRP seminar programme for 2019/20.