Religion, Security, Rights, the Individual and Rates of Exchange: Religion in Negotiation with British Public Policy in Prisons and the Military

  • Andrew J. Todd


The paper analyses research conducted by the Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy Studies into chaplaincy in prisons in England and Wales and in the British Armed Forces. The research is interrogated to identify how religion is ‘formatted’ in those contexts. An analytical approach is developed from the work of Bourdieu, concerning the following: the interaction of the field of religion with the fields of criminal justice and the military, within the wider political field; the exchange of capital (especially symbolic and economic) involved in the field interaction; and the way in which religion is revalued in the exchange of capital. This analytical framework is applied, first, to show how the fields of criminal justice (in relation to prisons) and the military are constructed in interaction with a wider political context, with specific public policy areas relating to security and human rights, and in relation to different ways of constructing the individual. Secondly, the analysis investigates the distinct ways in which the development of multifaith chaplaincy has contributed to the symbolic capital of the two fields, demonstrating that this represents different revaluations of the contribution of the field of religion. Prison chaplaincy is shown to contribute to the balance between the primary security role of the prison and the need for prisons to be seen to be humane. Military chaplaincy is shown to be more directly aligned with the security role of the Armed Forces, symbolically underpinning military effectiveness and cohesion and enhancing the historically Christian ethos.


Prison Military Chaplain Muslim chaplaincy Multifaith Religion Security Equality and diversity United Kingdom 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy StudiesCardiff University and St. Michael’s CollegeCardiffUK

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