Post-Olympic Britain looks like a very different country from the brittle, post-riot Britain of 2011. However, despite the successes of 2012, Frances Ward argues that underlying tensions remain in our society because we have forgotten how to nurture belonging and trust. Tracing the origins of modern identity politics back to key Enlightenment thinkers, she offers an alternative model of citizenship to the excessive individualism of secular humanism. She examines the Church's role in shaping Western society in ways which are reflected in the Olympic spirit: belonging together (corporate rather than individualistic identity), about doing things as ends and not means (non-utilitarian, non-instrumental), and about developing character and virtue (rather than a sense of 'identity').
Writing in an accessible and engaging style, drawing on contemporary literature and particularly the work of Alexander McCall Smith and his fictional character Isabel Dalhousie, Ward explores ways in which twenty-first century society can be rebuilt and strengthened for the future.
This book by Frances Ward is where the political debate should be. She writes perceptively and is not afraid to debate the crucial importance again of developing character and citizenship -- Rt Hon Frank Field MP The subtle and convincing analysis in this profound and beautifully-written book throws a spotlight on... our social failure. Frances Ward shows herself... to have a real understanding of what is wrong with contemporary Britain. Her diagnosis is acute; the remedies suggested in this wise and compassionate book deserve very serious consideration. We need to listen. -- Alexander McCall Smith