1st Edition

Religion and Mobility in a Globalising Asia New Ethnographic Explorations

Edited By Sin Wen Lau, Nanlai Cao Copyright 2014
    150 Pages
    by Routledge

    150 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume examines the dynamic, mutually constitutive, relationship between religion and mobility in the contemporary era of Asian globalisation in which an increasing number of people have been displaced, forcefully or voluntarily, by an expanding global market economy and lasting regional political strife. Seven case studies provide up-to-date ethnographic perspectives on the translocal/transnational dimension of religion and the religious/spiritual aspect of movement. The chapters draw on research into Buddhism, Islam, Chinese qigong, Christianity and communal ritual as these religious beliefs and practices move in and across Singapore, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the upper Mekong region, the Thai-Burma border, the Middle East and France. With these diverse and rich ethnographic cases on translocal/transnational Asian religious practices and subjectivities, the book transcends the conventional nation-state centered framework to look into how mobile religious agents are redefining boundaries of local, regional, national identities and recreating translocal, transnational and interregional connectivity. In so doing, it illustrates the importance of promoting a dynamic understanding of Asia not just as a geopolitical entity but as an ongoing social and religious formation in late modernity.

    This book was published as a special issue of the Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology.



    1. Introduction: Reconstituting Boundaries and Connectivity: Religion and Mobility in a Globalising Asia Nanlai Cao and Sin Wen Lau

    2. Refuge and Emplacement through Buddhism: Karen Refugees and Religious Practices in a Northwestern Border Town of Thailand Prasert Rangkla

    3. Remembering with Respect: History, Social Memory and the Cross-Border Journeys of a Charismatic Lue Monk Wasan Panyagaew

    4. Pig Sacrifices, Mobility and the Ritual Recreation of Community Among the Amis of Taiwan Shu-Ling Yeh

    5. Migration as a Spiritual Pathway: Narratives of Chinese Falungong Practitioners in Singapore Chee-Han Lim

    6. Charisma, Mobility, and the Role of a Sufi Order in a Chinese Muslim Community Tiffany Cone

    7. Mobility, Christianity and Belonging: Reflections of an Overseas Chinese Expatriate Wife in Shanghai Sin Wen Lau

    8. Renegotiating Locality and Morality in a Chinese Religious Diaspora: Wenzhou Christian Merchants in Paris, France Nanlai Cao

    9. Epilogue: Religion and Mobility in a Globalising Asia Nicholas Tapp


    Sin Wen Lau is a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity.Nanlai Cao is an associate professor at the School of Philosophy and Institute for Advanced Studies of Religion, Renmin University of China in Beijing. He is the author Constructing China‚Äôs Jerusalem: Christians, Power, and Place in Contemporary Wenzhou (Stanford University Press, c2011).