University of Cambridge > > Cambridge Public Policy Seminar Series > How religion has changed in Britain since the 1980s, and what it means for policy

How religion has changed in Britain since the 1980s, and what it means for policy

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Since the 1980s there has been a fundamental change in the religious landscape of the UK, along with many other European countries. Professor Woodhead suggests that this shift is so significant that it amounts to a ‘De-Reformation’ of religion whereby the mode of religion shaped by the 16thcentury Reformation has, for the first time in over four centuries, ceased to be the dominant mode in Britain.

She will examine how and why this shift has occurred, looking first at how the historic churches, both Catholic and Protestant, have been increasingly side-lined in society as the result of both external and internal pressures. She will discuss the new mode of being religious or spiritual which has taken over from the Reformation mode, and try to isolate its defining characteristics, including a rejection of hierarchy and embrace of what would once have been dismissed as ‘magic’.

This discussion will conclude with a consideration of how the UK’s new, more diverse, more individualised, and more religious landscape calls for changes in various areas of policy; including the way religion is taught in schools, how religious identity is treated in law, and how the state relates to religion.


These seminars bring together a diverse range of individuals from the humanities as well as social and natural sciences to discuss the public policy implications of their work and research.

They will take place on Tuesdays between 1-2pm, throughout the year. Venue to be confirmed.

Each talk will last 25-30 minutes and will be followed by open discussion.

To register for this event please follow the link here.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Public Policy Seminar Series series.

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