Faith-based Initiatives and the Challenges of Governance

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The task of this paper is to offer an analysis of the Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI) established by George W. Bush and continued under the Obama administration based on a critical and decentred approach to governance (networks). The paper starts out by placing FBCI in the context of the welfare reform of 1996 arguing that both share certain basic assumptions, for example, regarding the nature of poverty, and that FBCI can be interpreted as a response to the relative failure of some aspects of the reform of 1996. In what follows, FBCI is analysed as a typical case of (welfare) state restructuring from government to governance. Emphasis is given to the way discourses and traditions such as communitarianism and public choice have shaped the formation of this new governance arrangement in the field of social service delivery in order to strive for a 'decentring' of FBCI by drawing attention to actors' beliefs and worldviews. Finally, I argue that it is not least because of a divergence of such views between policy-makers and faith-based organizations that the effect of FBCI remains for the time being limited
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1001-1014
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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