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Abstract

Since 9/11 Jürgen Habermas has paid considerable attention to religion in the public sphere. He has described contemporary Western societies as ‘post-secular’, arguing that believers and non-believers should show a mutually cooperative attitude and engage in complementary learning processes. Although public theologians have urged for policies that would encourage such collaboration, public administration scholars and practitioners seem to have completely neglected this call. In this article we inquire into the possibility of a ‘post-secular public administration’, which grants a more significant place to beneficial forms of religion in modern societies. By presenting a case study on Street Pastors in the British night-time economy we offer an example of both a post-secular religious contribution to the public sphere, as envisaged by Habermas, and a piece of post-secular empirical social science research. Finally, we critically assess Habermas’ post-secular turn within the context of a cross-narrative between public theology and public administration.

In: International Journal of Public Theology