A PDF version of this book is available for free in open access via www.tandfebooks.com as well as the OAPEN Library platform, www.oapen.org. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 license and is part of the OAPEN-UK research project. There is growing evidence that rising levels of prosperity in Western ecomies since 1945 have t been matched by greater incidences of reported well-being and happiness. Indeed, material affluence is often accompanied instead by greater social and individual distress. A growing literature within the humanities and social sciences is increasingly concerned to chart t only the underlying trends in recorded levels of happiness, but to consider what factors, if any, contribute to positive and sustainable experiences of well-being and quality of life. Increasingly, such research is focusing on the importance of values and beliefs in human satisfaction or quality of life; but the specific contribution of religion to these trends is relatively under-examined. This unique collection of essays seeks to rectify that omission, by identifying the nature and role of the religious contribution to wellbeing. A unique collection of nineteen leading scholars from the field of ecomics, psychology, public theology and social policy have been brought together in this volume to explore the religious contribution to the debate about happiness and well-being. These essays explore the religious dimensions to a number of key features of well-being, including marriage, crime and rehabilitation, work, inequality, mental health, environment, participation, institutional theory, business and trade. They engage particularly closely with current trends in ecomics in identifying alternative models of ecomic growth which focus on its qualitative as well as quantitative dimensions. This distinctive volume brings to public tice the nature and role of religion's contribution to wellbeing, including new ways of measurement and evaluation. As such, it represents a valuable and unprecedented resource for the development of a broad-based religious contribution to the field. It will be of particular relevance for those who are concerned about the continuing debate about personal and societal well-being, as well as those who are interested in the continuing significance of religion for the future of public policy.
John Atherton is Canon Theologian Emeritus of Manchester Cathedral and Honorary Research Fellow of the William Temple Foundation and of Manchester University, UK, with doctorates from Manchester and Uppsala Universities. His research and publishing interests have increasingly focused on the relationship between political economy and religion. Elaine Graham is Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Chester, UK, and was until October 2009 the Samuel Ferguson Professor of Social and Pastoral Theology at the University of Manchester, UK. Ian Steedman has been professor of economics at Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He has a longstanding involvement in microeconomic theory, the history of economic thought and in the intersections among economics, ethics and social thought.