176 pages | 13 B/W Illus.
This book is based on anthropological fieldwork among the Bai, an ethnic minority with a population of two million in Dali, southwest China. It explores the religious and ethnic revival in the last two decades against a historical background. It explains why and how religions and ethnic identity are revived in contemporary China, with the revived analytical concept of "alterity", which suggests a world beyond here and now. The book focuses on the particular institutions and ritual technologies that seek for access to the invisible, transcendental other—both spatial and temporal. It covers a variety of topics, including pre-modern kingship, modern utopia, religious alterity, ethnic identity, religious associations, the Intangible Cultural Heritage, and temple restorations.
Introduction, Chapter 1 Situating the Field, Chapter 2 Removing Religions in the 1950s and the early 1960s, Chapter 3 Introducing Ethnicity: The Promise of the Utopian Alterity, Chapter 4 Ethnicity Perpetuated: Nanzhao History between China and Thailand, Chapter 5 Religious Revival in Dali and Xizhou, Chapter 6 Culturalization of religion and ethnicity, Chapter 7 Temple lost, Temple Regained: The Sacred Public Space, Conclusion
Much work on contemporary religion in Asia considers the subject from the perspective of the great religions, often focusing on the development of official beliefs, and the development of formal institutions. The books in this series, on the other hand, examine the actual practice of religion in everyday life in modern Asian societies. They reveal a very rich picture of varying religious practices, many of them new and non-traditional. The religions of Asia are undergoing much radical change not only communal religious revivalism, but also an explosion of urban piety, popular preaching, charismatic churches, and on-line religion. The books cover a wide range of subjects in the countries of East, Southeast, South and Central Asia. The series welcomes innovative approaches to theory and methods in the study of religion and religions, and work which considers religion in relation to culture, politics, ethnicity or gender.
Bryan S. Turner is Presidential Professor of Sociology, Graduate Center, City University of New York and Professor and Director of the Centre for Religion and Society at the University of Western Sydney.