Building Temples in China

Memories, Tourism and Identities

By Selina Ching Chan, Graeme Lang

© 2014 – Routledge

178 pages | 18 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415642248
pub: 2015-02-25
US Dollars$145.00

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About the Book

Much has been written on how temples are constructed or reconstructed for reviving local religious and communal life or for recycling tradition after the market reforms in China. The dynamics between the state and society that lie behind the revival of temples and religious practices initiated by the locals have been well-analysed. However, there is a gap in the literature when it comes to understanding religious revivals that were instead led by local governments.

This book examines the revival of worship of the Chinese Deity Huang Daxian and the building of many new temples to the god in mainland China over the last 20 years. It analyses the role of local governments in initiating temple construction projects in China, and how development-oriented temple-building activities in Mainland China reveal the forces of transnational ties, capital, markets and identities, as temples were built with the hope of developing tourism, boosting the local economy, and enhancing Chinese identities for Hong Kong worshippers and Taiwanese in response to the reunification of Hong Kong to China.

Including chapters on local religious memory awakening, pilgrimage as a form of tourism, women temple managers, entrepreneurialism and the religious economy, and based on extensive fieldwork, Chan and Lang have produced a truly interdisciplinary follow up to The Rise of a Refugee God which will appeal to students and scholars of Chinese religion, Chinese culture, Asian anthropology, cultural heritage and Daoism alike.

Table of Contents

1. Building Temples in China: Memories, Tourists and Identities 2. History of the worship of Huang Daxian 20 3. Making Religious Places: Memories and Transnational Ties 4. Heritage and Temples: Authenticity, Tourists, and Pilgrims 5. Two Grand Temples in Jinhua 6. A Female Temple Manager and the Popularization of a Temple 7. A Popular Temple in Guangzhou Built and Managed by a Secular Entrepreneur 8. Conclusion 9. Appendix: The Lives of a Saint: Compiling Stories about Huang Chuping

About the Authors

Selina Ching Chan is Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of the Contemporary China Research Centre at Hong Kong Shue Yan University.

Graeme Lang was a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Asian and International Studies at City University of Hong Kong until his retirement in 2014.

About the Series

Anthropology of Asia

Asia today is one of the most dynamic regions of the world. The previously predominant image of ‘timeless peasants’ has given way to the image of fast-paced business people, mass consumerism and high-rise urban conglomerations. Yet much discourse remains entrenched in the polarities of East versus West’, ‘Tradition versus Change’. This series hopes to provide a forum for anthropological studies which break with such polarities. It will publish titles dealing with cosmopolitanism, cultural identity, representations, arts and performance. The complexities of urban Asia, its elites, its political rituals, and its families will also be explored.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Eastern
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General