Religion in Contemporary China: Revitalization and Innovation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Religion in Contemporary China

Revitalization and Innovation, 1st Edition

Edited by Adam Yuet Chau


246 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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Before the modernist transformations of the twentieth century, China had one of the richest and most diverse religious cultures in the world. The radical anti-traditionalist policies of both the Republican and Communist regimes as well as other socio-historical factors posed formidable challenges to China’s religious traditions but, this book argues, these conditions also presented new opportunities for re-generation and innovation.

It shows that economic reforms and the concurrent relaxation of religious policies have provided fertile ground for the revitalization of a wide array of religious practices, including divination, ancestor worship, temple festivals, spirit mediumism, churchgoing, funeral rites, exorcism, pilgrimages, sectarianism, sutra chanting, and the printing and distribution of morality books. Equally new forms of religious practices have emerged such as lay Buddhist preachers, "Maoist shamans", and a range of qigong sects/schools.

Written by an international, interdisciplinary team of experts who have all conducted in-depth fieldwork research in China, this book provides a wide-ranging survey of contemporary religious practices in China. It examines the different processes and mechanisms of religious revivals and innovations, and, more broadly, relates the Chinese example of religious revitalization to larger issues of social and cultural continuity and change.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments List of figures, maps, and tables List of Contributors 1. Introduction: Revitalizing and Innovating Religious Traditions in Contemporary China - Adam Yuet Chau 2. Buddhism in the Reform Era: A Secularized Revival? - Ji Zhe 3. Morality Books and the Re-Growth of Lay Buddhism in China - Gareth Fisher 4. From Ritual Skills to Discursive Knowledge: Changing Styles of Daoist Transmission in Shanghai - Yang Der-ruey 5. Networks and the "Cloudlike Wandering" of Daoist Monks in China Today - Adeline Herrou 6. Temples as Enterprises - Selina Chan and Graeme Lang 7. Revival in Crisis: Amateur Ritual Associations in Hebei - Stephen Jones 8. Chinese Religious Innovation in the Qigong Movement: The Case of Zhonggong - David Palmer 9. Global Modernity, Local Community, and Spiritual Power in the Shanxi Catholic Church - Henrietta Harrison Index

About the Editor

Adam Yuet Chau is University Lecturer in the Anthropology of Modern China in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is the author of Miraculous Response: Doing Popular Religion in Contemporary China.

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary China Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion