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Religious renaissance in China today

Religiöse Renaissance im heutigen China
[journal article]

Madsen, Richard

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Abstract Since the beginning of the Reform Era in 1979, there has been a rapid growth and development of religious belief and practice in China. A substantial new scholarly literature has been generated in the attempt to document and understand this. This essay identifies the most important contributions to that literature and discusses areas of agreement and controversy across the literature. Along with new data, new paradigms have developed to frame research on Chinese religions. The paradigm derived from C. K. Yang's classic work in the 1960s came from structural functionalism, which served to unite research in the humanities and social sciences. However, structural functionalism has been abandoned by the new generation of scholars. In the humanities, the most popular paradigm derives from Michel Foucault, but there are also scholars who use neo-Durkheimian and neo-Weberian paradigms. In the social sciences, the dominant paradigms tend to focus on state-society relations. None of these paradigms fully captures the complexity of the transformations happening in China. We recommend greater dialogue between the humanities and social sciences in search of more adequate theoretical frameworks for understanding Chinese religions today.
Keywords twentieth century; China; religion; reform; religiousness; paradigm; structural functionalism; Foucault, M.; Durkheim, E.; Weber, M.; commodity value; national state; complexity; humanities; social science; Asia
Classification Sociology of Religion; Philosophy, Ethics, Religion
Method descriptive study; theory application
Free Keywords Social sciences; humanities; state-society conflicts; contemporary
Document language English
Publication Year 2011
Page/Pages p. 17-42
Journal Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 40 (2011) 2
ISSN 1868-4874
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works