It is true that from the s, culture However, cultural transformation is not history itself; culture does not change at the same pace as history. To take an extreme example, even if history did end, as Fukuyama claims, in liberal democracy, culture will still keep changing. Anthropology is willing to entangle itself with history, but lacks the capacity or the willingness to become history. Also, for anthropologists, the ultimate question is comparative study. Historians might very well investigate the transformation of Southeastern China clans from the Song dynasty to the present; they might very well understand it better than anthropologists.
The anthropologists, on their side, are more willing to compare this process to the transformations to modernity in Polynesia, in the Americas or in Africa, in order to find some general law that governs all transformations into modern societies. For all these methodological divergences, historical anthropology in China will continue to prosper under joint efforts by historians and anthropologists. This is The Double Rupture. All the methodological reflections and arguments are merely suggestions to improve this collaboration.
Conclusion As was stated above, historical anthropology in China is principally interested in the double rupture of modern life. For some Chinese scholars, the Chinese are principally faced with the problem of how a life with dignity can be lived in a modern world dominated by the West. The reflection on state- building is deeply embedded into research on culture. Historical anthropology is a primary example of the intellectual anxieties concerning this question.
However, Chinese scholars realize that if a new Chinese state is desirable, it should be, at the same time, rooted in Chinese civilization. Thus, both local and traditional cultural logics are examined in historical anthropology, so that the rupture between traditional state and modern state, and that between modern state and traditional society, can be paradoxically presented as a resource for building a modern state with Chinese characteristics. His new vision of the world would be one in which every culture, while being the Other to each other, is also part of each other, in a word, a world as a Culture of cultures.
This should be the vocation of historical anthropology in China. Translated from the Chinese by Gong Xun Voir Zeng Qiongshi, Wang Mingming, : Pour les chercheurs travaillant sur la Chine, Granet va plus loin. Voir Ji Zhe, So was religion Liang Yongjia, Both institutional, officially recognised religions and non-institutional, folk religions have steadily developed over the last three decades. How, then, does the anthropological study of religion make sense of the religious landscape in post- Mao China?
What are the major concerns and findings, and how are we to understand them? The paper tries to provide a general answer to these questions. When mentioned, the anthropology of religion is taken as a part of the overall construction of anthropology as a discipline, rather than as a field reacting to the changes in Chinese society and academia. However, the distinction seems to go little beyond academic resources, while the affinity of the two is apparent. It should take into consideration the Chinese social and academic setting, especially the deep impact from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Euro-American academia.
The paper reviews the anthropological study of religion in the last three decades against the social, political, and academic contexts. I argue that this field is a fuzzy one. In response to the religious revival initiated in the s, the anthropological studies are rather fragmentary and diffuse.
However, quality empirical studies are insufficient. New trends include a focus on institutional religions and the creation of the journal Anthropology of Religion. I firstly put anthropology of religion in the contexts of religious revival and regulations, discussing its relation to religious studies and folkloristic studies. I then explore the ways in which why religion is studied under alternative labels. Thirdly, I review the external academic impact and cross-disciplinary studies that both profoundly changed the field.
Fourthly, I offer a critical review of the two theories explaining the religious landscape of China-religious ecology and religious market. Finally, I highlight some new trends that have appeared in recent years. I do not intend to provide an exhaustive review of the subject. Rather, I will highlight some works that are characteristic of the field.
Due to word limitation, I will review mostly monographs rather than papers. Indeed, they are not Chinese concepts, but were introduced by Chinese elites from imperial powers usually from Japan as universals deployed to re-interpret Chinese society in order to re- organise it, thereby creating new sets of relations and institutions. As time went by, the concepts may have been indigenised, but they never were entirely able to describe the Chinese society.
When opening China for foreign investment in the early s, the Chinese Communist Party CCP realigned its religious policy from eradication to tolerance- cum-vigilance. The religious population steadily increases as religious infrastructure expands under governmental or non-governmental sponsorship. Restoration of sacred sites appeals to larger populations for community and identity re- creation. Officially recognised religions retrieve different regimes of transcendence into different localities.
Unofficial, trans-local, or transnational movements explore their sphere of activities with underground proselytising or with NGO instruments. Ancestor veneration and rituals of almanacs, geomancy, horoscope, and spirit medium intermingle with new waves of salvationist movements, and body or spiritual-healing techniques. The increasing The Anthropological Study of Religion in China: Contexts, Collaborations, Debates, and Trends social, political, economic disparity creates greater anxiety to seek for old ways of oracle-reading, mask-dancing, sutra-chanting, karma-fair hosting, and so on.
Lastly, the national and global flow of capital, symbols, ideas, and practices also poses an unusual problem of religious pluralism with increasing mobility. The vibrancy of religious revival is perhaps the most unexpected phenomenon to the state, who holds the old conviction that religion will decline as people are enlightened with scientific truth or enriched by economic growth. The contrary reality convinced the authority to keep a close eye on the subversive or infiltrated religious groups, and when necessary, launched countermeasures such as the anti- superstition campaign in the s and the crackdown of Falungong at the turn of the century.
However, the state also kept a laissez-faire attitude toward communal religions, non-institutionalised religions of the ethnic minorities, and quasi-religious activities, which, having little chance to become another legitimate religion, are peaceful and hard to eradicate. It is this fuzzy field that anthropological studies pay much attention to.
Still others believe that the increase in religious demand reflects the inadequacy of religious supply. I have argued elsewhere that all of these interpretations are problematic since religious revival could not be reduced to calculation or material pursuit, but is a desire to connect with the other-worldliness, which entails authority and tradition beyond the realm of the individual. In other words, though religion is defined in the modern world as a personal choice, it is social and collective act Liang Yongjia, The reason for the religious revival in China lies in the diversified ways of connecting to other-worldliness.
China is never a theocracy. It allows different ways of transcendence in the social world Duara, As an academic discipline, anthropology was formally re-established by the creation of the Chinese Anthropological Association in after three decades of banning. However, it has been a marginal discipline in the Chinese academic landscape, lacking professionals, programs, and funding. Compared with other anthropological fields such as economics, demography, or ethnicity, anthropology of religion is a small one. The forefathers who led the revival of anthropology paid Meanwhile, religious studies remain a marginal field, too, entirely different from the place divinity schools hold in the western universities.
Established in by the instruction of Mao Zedong, the field has always been a subfield of philosophy, which emphasises textual studies of doctrines, canons, thoughts, and religious figures. Most importantly, the field is dominated by the study of institutionalised religions, which is close to the state power under the co-option of the State Administration of Religious Affairs. Studies based on ethnographic fieldwork have started only recently. Among hundreds of translated works done in this period, classics of cultural anthropology widely influenced the emerging scholars.
During the s, a few works on the anthropology of religion were also translated. It was and still is the most complete collection in Chinese about the anthropology of religion. In the s and s, many anthropological studies of religion were conducted by scholars from other disciplines such as Chinese literature, folklore, philosophy, The Anthropological Study of Religion in China: Contexts, Collaborations, Debates, and Trends archaeology, history, and ethnology, or by amateurs in local gazetteer offices and cultural centres.
Their works comprise staple empirical studies, which are mainly recording of local temples, myths, festivals, rituals, and customs. In the mids, anthropologists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe and America began to work with mainland anthropologists, and began to train PhD students for mainland China. Some key universities recruited anthropologists who obtained their PhDs home or abroad, starting systematic, professional training programs throughout China.
Foreign anthropologists and their students conducted much more intensive, qualified fieldwork, producing hundreds of new monographs about religious life in China. Meanwhile, the early self-taught anthropologists, along with emerging folklorists, ethnomusicologists, industrial artists, choreographers, filmmakers, painters and photographers kept producing work reporting the fieldwork they conducted. Taken together, anthropology of religion in post-Mao China grew significantly. In his ethnographic works, he explores the state relations with local family and other social organisations, the status of folk traditions, modern philanthropic system, and local authority.
His research topic and method shed new light and led to new discussions in both Chinese and English academia. His meticulous study of the folk religions makes the book a milestone in the landscape of Chinese anthropology. Mazu involves a span of elaborate celebrations and sacrificial activities of offerings and incense-dividing, as well as a long record of imperial titles bestowed by emperors over a millennium.
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The study of myth has also become a focal point. While picking up the stories about ghosts and deities in ancient Chinese literature, they also pay attention to Euro-American anthropology, attempting to explore the possibility of an anthropology of myth. In the wake of heritage-making, The new process immediately attracted the attention of some anthropologists Zhou Xing, Though alternative terms to study religion predominate in Chinese anthropology of the s and s, there is one exception: the study of the religions among the ethnic minorities, which are not part of the officially recognised religions.
The idea supposes that all ethnic minorities are socially backward — i. Two major national surveys warrant special attention. This extensive collection produced one billion words of precious records, forming a solid foundation for the rise of Chinese new anthropology yet to make more use of the material.
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It is a series that International cooperation and interdisciplinary studies Along with the deepening of Chinese open-door policy, China rapidly became the fieldwork site accessible again to international anthropologists since , and one of the largest sending countries for overseas students. The mutual influence is yet to be studied, but for sure, most Chinese anthropologists of religion today are products of such mutual influence, especially those who frequently visit foreign academic institutes, or even obtain PhD degrees in anthropology.
Many long-term projects to which Chinese and overseas scholars collaborated also produced a number of domestically conferred PhD students. Profound mutual influence between history and anthropology, particularly the methodological merging of archival studies and ethnographic fieldwork, benefited both disciplines immensely. The collaboration between mainland China and external institutes is worldwide. The collaborations have produced iconic publications and influential anthropologists and historians, broadening our understanding of the landscape of Chinese religiosity.
More importantly, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate studies done by mainland Chinese and by external scholars. They argue that folk belief demonstrates some level of continuity because it lies outside the governmental system. Firstly, it makes an excellent use of the traditional Chinese historical studies and emphasises archival research; secondly, it employs the method of anthropological fieldwork, expanding the scope of sources; thirdly, it has become a field where Chinese historical studies can really debate with the western theories.
He suggests we should raise questions out of the historical traditions of China, rather than taking questions pertinent to Euro-American countries as Chinese ones. Studies on different ethnic groups are also flourishing. Studies on the religiosity of ethnic minorities abound too. Liang suggests that the systems both contribute to communal solidarity and encompass it.
The three studies are conducted among the officially classified ethnic minorities of the Yi, the Bai, and the Dai. The Peking University PhD graduates produced more work on the topic. Both collaboration with external institutes and interdisciplinary studies are cross-border. On the one hand, it reveals the difference between international and Chinese academia resulting from decades of isolation. On the other, it again confirms the fluidity and segmented-ness of the anthropological study of religion.
Chinese anthropology benefited from international anthropology, but it is not merely a passive receiver of external theoretical concerns. After all, the Chinese- speaking academia survived despite long-term political pressure, as demonstrated in many academic writings presenting particular views that are not easily found in the West. On the other hand, mutual benefits are the key to anthropology, history, folklore, and ethnology, where some suggestions arising from the concerns within one discipline may inspire another.
We can safely conclude that cross-border collaborations and interdisciplinary studies not only illustrate the diversity of the anthropological study of religion in China, but also constitute the strength of this field. In contrast, two theories proposed in the last decade, one by researchers in religious studies and the other by sociologists, make louder sounds by debating with each other, overshadowing anthropology.
Through adjustment and contentions, the system survives and develops through internal, continuous renewal and external interactions. He believes that the religious ecology in contemporary China has lost balance because the Chinese traditional culture is rejected for the sake of atheism, leading to the suppression of the peaceful religious activities such as the folk religion, which The Anthropological Study of Religion in China: Contexts, Collaborations, Debates, and Trends is hard for ordinary people to accept.
On the other hand, the state protects exclusive religions such as Christianity. He proposes that, while insisting on freedom of religious belief, China needs to promote inter-religious tolerance and cultural awareness. The book delineates the dynamics of religious diversity in a multi-ethnic area inhabited by the Han, the Buyi, and the Miao. The imbalance increased when the state decided to revive Christianity upon the Open-door policy, tolerating the growth of non- institutional church house church while tightly control the institutional church state co-opted church.
The imbalance in the Chinese religious market and the growth of Christianity are not entirely an unintended consequence of policy, but a result of radical social changes. Christianity presents internal variations that cannot be lumped together and balanced as a whole Ni Feng, Those against religious ecology argue that there is no correlation between the growth of Christianity and the wane of folk religion. The proposal claims to explain the religious culture of the world, but most authors discuss only the Chinese religious policy.
More important is perhaps the fact that the theory has very limited support from empirical studies. This is because the theory requires one to define a priori a community within which the boundaries of all religions have to be identified. If religious ecology intends to do nothing more than suggesting a policy, it will rapidly lose its grand ambition and academic merit.
Apparently, its aim is to promote the legitimisation of folk religion, which is not a religion but a spectrum of diverse activities illegible to the state. However, it will inevitably be reduced into organisations legible to the state by creating fixed sites, rituals, liturgy, canons and by excluding diverse non-organisational practices and grassroots interpretations, making the latter more marginalised.
The frenzy of heritage-making activities over the folk religious practices has already illustrated the limits of policy. Most of the time, these powerful heritage- making elites are only capable of creating an elitist version of the heritage incomprehensible to the silent majority. We can certainly imagine that once folk religion is codified into a social domain subject to administrative regulation, the marginalised majority will naturally look for alternative ways to practice and meet their concerns, a process that is not much different from the non-institutionalisation of Christianity.
Ji Zhe a severely criticised it, arguing that religious market theory simply reduces religion to a kind of social phenomenon rather than presenting it as a central issue for modernity. The fundamental flaw in the triple-colour market theory lies in its presumption that religion is a part of human nature, and religions are isomorphic and mutually exclusive, without much attention to the particularity of the Chinese society.
First, the competing relation between religions that the theory tries to propose with a market metaphor is more likely to account for exclusive, Abrahamic religions Christianity, Islam and Judaism. However, it is quite impossible to explain the non-competitive nature of Chinese societies full of non-institutional religions — inclusive or syncretic. Theologically valid as it might be, this view is based on a certain universal-in- disguise, prescriptive philosophy, rather than on empirical, inductive social science.
However, such a condition will only benefit the evangelical churches that hold one of the strongest proselytising incentives and the richest economic resources in human history. Just like the situation in the global market, it is the giant transnational corporations that will dominate, not small businesses.
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Neither the ecology theory nor the market theory attracts anthropologists much, especially the former. Anthropologists who do respond are divided into those who are interested in developing it such as Lu Yunfeng and Huang Jianbo , and those who reject it such as Ji Zhe and Liang Yongjia. However, both share similar weaknesses.
Moreover, both reduce the Chinese religious landscape to competitive markets. Such a difference is not dissimilar to the debates between the Republicans and the Democrats in the U. Congress, whose opinions are diverging to them but very similar to an outsider. Secondly, both hope for influencing the state to change China with specific suggestions, which they are very confident about when it comes to predicting how religions in China will develop.
However, their empirical studies are rather inconclusive. Though both are sure what is going on, they seem not to be aware that empirical studies on Chinese religions are far from clear.
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A simple comparison with the scale of studies conducted on the topics of stock exchange, rural society, industry, law or population will immediately convince anyone how little empirical studies are available in the study of religious life. In both theories, religious adherents are statistically rather than sociologically significant.
To them, empirical studies mean little more than household visits, questionnaires, interviews, and software applications. The issue is to explain society and to study religion as a discursive term rather than to take religion for granted and use the definition to influence policy-making. The Anthropological Study of Religion in China: Contexts, Collaborations, Debates, and Trends New trends in anthropology of religion In the last decade, new trends deserving closer attention have emerged in Chinese anthropology of religion.
Secondly, some important works on Chinese religions were translated too, including C. These works expand the theoretical explorations further. One recent turn is the empirical studies of institutional religions. For Christianity, most of the in-depth studies have to be published in Hong Kong due to censorship.
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Huang Jianbo put forward three dimensions of Chinese Christianity: the proselytised Christianity, the acquired This Christian community enjoys a great deal of freedom due to their economic power and political networks. Not unfriendly with the Three-Self Patriotic Movement church, the boss Christians are able to conduct religious activities outside the state-coopted system when they promote the faith in company premises and proselytise in other business activities. They challenge the secularist theme that religion will decline in modernity, the stereotype that Chinese Christians are mainly the aged, the women, and the illiterate, and the impression that Chinese Christians are victims of severe persecution.
Christianity studies have proliferated in recent years. Catholic studies are also productive. The author argues that unlike Christians who creates an ethic through effective techniques to change everyday life, Catholics merely form a distinctively collective identity based on common memory. The author, The idea of Jamaat is extensively found in mosques, restaurants, companies, schools and cyberspace. The book provides precious empirical data on contemporary sectarianism on the one hand, and puts forward a novel theorical outlook on the other. It solidly sets a new bar in the study of Daoism and Chinese popular religions.
With eight issues so far since , the journal holds regular events inviting Chinese and international anthropologists to discuss on a variety of topics. It maintains a high standard with a peer-review system not easily found in Chinese academia, in which a group of well-trained anthropologists have contributed articles on some critical issues: religious ecology vs. The new trends in the anthropology of religion are under the direct influence of the conversations between Chinese anthropologists and their international counterparts, as well as some new developments in Chinese social science.
Attention to institutional religions responds to some emerging issues in the Chinese society, especially to the rapid growth of Christianity. However, anthropologists of Christianity are predominantly Christians themselves, and they do not always address their faith with value-free analysis.
The field needs more studies by non-Christians. Moreover, more studies are needed on pseudo-religious or quasi-religious practices such as breath-exercise, spiritual cultivation, tantric practices, yoga, life-nurturing, eremitism, etc. Some young anthropologists have produced ethnographic studies on the religious life beyond China, including overseas Chinese religions, Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism, Astrology, Catholicism, Judaism, and Christianity. Concluding remark: anthropology of religion at crossroad The paper highlights some characteristics of Chinese anthropology of religion since the s.
I firstly set the field in the context of religious revival and regulation in China, as well as its relation to the disciplines of religious studies and folklore. Thirdly, I review the external collaborations and their impact on China, as well as interdisciplinary studies from history and ethnology. It is a good time to discuss the future of the field, which is certainly closely related to the entire situation of Chinese social science. Since the turn of the century, four new trends have emerged in Chinese social science as a whole. First, while social science has become more rigorous, it has also lost its autonomy to the extent that it is too close to policy studies, think tank The Anthropological Study of Religion in China: Contexts, Collaborations, Debates, and Trends establishment, and propaganda work.
Secondly, English-speaking academics, particularly American ones, intensely influence Chinese scholars by laying out a variety of topics unimportant to Chinese society. Fourthly, humanities and social sciences are so deeply divided that those who consciously engage in value-laden studies and those who try to conduct value-free studies stop talking with each other.
All these trends can be found in the anthropological study of religion. Upon the rapidly changing landscapes of religion and religious policy, it might not be wise for anthropologists to influence policies at the cost of value-free analysis. After all, the few empirical studies available are barely enough to suggest wise policies or minimise policy risks. This has been proven once and again, but has not deterred scholars from being keen to policy suggestions. At the same time, those who claim to have obtained the truth with pure empiricism actually cannot go without conceptual frameworks.
The anthropological study of the religious landscape cannot go without sufficient training in the western anthropology, though Chinese anthropologists have the right and obligations to raise their own research questions. Meaningful questions can be raised only through sophisticated reflection on the Chinese academic traditions and the current anthropological literature in western languages at the same time. Neither English-speaking anthropology nor Chinese ancient classics alone can help Chinese anthropologists produce world-class studies.
Of course, we need time, but what is urgent is the accumulation of more qualified empirical studies to give the world a clearer picture of what is going on in China. Until then, we are unable to expect much from the anthropological study of religion in China. Fei, Xiaotong et al. Published on June 25, accessed in December 20, Trained in anthropology and development studies, her study focuses on the ethnic minorities' involvement with social development in China.
Some participants of the debate believed that, in order to avoid confusion caused by the lack of contextuality, the word should not be applied to all human groups in China across time and space. He concluded that minzu itself was an unjustified concept. Despite the sea change in the social-political landscape of post-Mao China, the minzu issue challenges contemporary Chinese anthropologists much in the way it challenged Yang Kun, Lin Yaohua and others during the high-socialist period.
Given the ambiguities and the controversies about the concept of minzu, it is essential for scholars to find a practical way to discuss concepts such as ethnicity, ethnic group, and nation. One way to avoid losing information in the process of translation and encompass the complexities of the term is to introduce it to the English-speaking audience in its vernacular form -minzu.
For better or for worse, the investigation of the conjecture is an inevitable step to evaluate the contribution of Chinese anthropological study on ethnicity to the international community of the discipline. In this paper, I will firstly analyse why and how minzu is an overlapped field of anthropology, ethnology and sociology in the process of disciplinary institutionalisation. The former is related to the subjects of study, and the latter is concerned with methodology. Both factors contribute tremendously to the institutionalisation of minzu, which eventually led to the institutionalisation of the anthropological discipline.
Ethnic classification in the s was a crucial step for the Chinese Communist Party CCP to legitimise its regime and domesticate its people. Unexpectedly, the government received more than ethnonyms, of them submitted from the Yunnan province alone. Both officials and scholars involved in the project decided it was impossible to handle. For the implementation of the project, the central government summoned experts in Beijing and provincial capitals to form research teams. The teams were required to do fieldwork with the support from the local governments, following the doctrines of Marxism and Leninism, especially Stalinist outlook of ethnicity.
With another two added in and , the number of ethnic minorities was fixed at 55 in Ever since, the state authority has never made any change in the numbers of minzu identified. The project of ethnic classification was coordinated and implemented under the supervision of the state power, by which the subject of the paper, anthropology, was profoundly affected as an academic discipline. Anthropologists had to rename themselves as ethnologists, or historians, or linguists, among others.
They had to deal with the ideological constraint in academic writing as well. However, the project of ethnic classification in fact provided anthropologists with a remarkable opportunity to do fieldwork at unprecedentedly large scale. Anthropological Study of Ethnicity in post-Mao China of work caused by the enormity of the project, they had to train students.
Besides the vibrant environment for individual scholars, for better or for worse, the era also witnessed the extensive collaboration across institutions. The project produced more than research reports amounting to one billion Chinese characters about 1. All studies were governed by the principle of the Stalinist four commons about minzu. Ethnic classification not only saved anthropological study, but also fuelled the revival of the discipline in the s and hence.
Anthropologists fostered an intimate relationship with the making of ethnic identity, willingly or unwillingly. One of the examples is the debate between Harrell and Li mentioned above. Many ethnographic studies transcend the four commons and explore topics of a broader scope, including ethnic identification, cultural change, religion, rituals, oral literature, and so on. Ordinary ethnic minority members enjoy preferential policies to some degree, too. Therefore, ethnic identity became more important than ever. Governments at different levels compete for mobilizing scholars to do research and apply for cultural heritage on their behalves.
Many projects have succeeded in making their names in the national, provincial lists of cultural heritage, even to the UNESCO list. The second important factor affecting the study of ethnicity after the s is the way disciplines were categorised, institutionalised or structured by the Ministry of Education. They are sociable, open-minded, unpretentious. They can be lazy, pessimistic. In the Chinese calendar, the beginning of the year falls somewhere between late January and early February. According to legend, who created the Chinese horoscope? In western cultures this animal is often badly considered, but in the Chinese zodiac it is very talented.
In the western zodiac a sign lasts for one month. How long does a sign last in the Chinese zodiac? This animal appears both in the Chinese and Western zodiac. Thanks for sharing this information!
I have seen before in my life. The cat tells rats to register him as a candidate. Unfortunately, the rat has forgotten, the cat has never been chosen, because then the cat and the rat become enemies. The tiger and the dragon are not happy, for comfort, the tiger bears the name of the king of the mountains, and the dragon king of the sea, they are named after the rat and the buffalo.
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