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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Dr Charles Pemberton

Pemberton, Charles (2019). Between Ecclesiology and Ontology: A Response to Chris Allen on British Food Banks. Political Theology 20(1): 85-101.

Author(s) from Durham


The sociologist and theologian Chris Allen develops aspects of both Liberation and Postliberal theologies to launch a critique of the two dominant contemporary Christian responses to British food insecurity: food charity and food justice campaigning. Allen maps an alternative approach: a land activist Church that draws on its own historical counter-cultural practices and takes an oppositional stance to the contemporary state and market nexus. Drawing on the work of the Italian philosopher and political theorist Roberto Esposito, this essay argues that Allen's goals could be more fully realized by investigating with greater nuance Christian ontology, ecclesiology and the role of the state. Turning again to Allen's sources in this essay, the variety and potential of foodbank volunteering along with the legitimacy of food justice campaigns are critically reintegrated into a more radical project, a project which includes but is not limited to the sphere of the ecclesia.