大众宗教复兴的政治：庙宇、国家和跨境宗教网络 = The politics of revitalizing popular religious : temple, state, and trans-boundary religious networks
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This dissertation is an interdisciplinary account of politics of temple -based popular religion in contemporary China. Before the reform era, both the Eastern and Western Temples were transformed into productive physical spaces, whereas the Northern and Southern Temples were torn down completely by villagers. Then, an astounding resurgence of religion took place with the onset of economic reform and ideological relaxation in the late 1970s. While both the Eastern and Western Temples have enjoyed a tremendous period of revival in the late 1980s, it was not until 1994 that villagers from the Wencuo Village began to reconstruct the Northern Temple on the site where it had once stood. The Southern Temple, one of the oldest Ciji temples, is now a dilapidated, deserted temple that does not even have a door. Based on a total of 12 months of fieldwork conducted in Xiamen and Zhangzhou, this study highlights the roles that Chinese state and trans-boundary religious activists have played in the uneven revival of popular religion. It presents four major arguments. First, the religious economy model argues that the relation between state regulation and religious competition and vitality is inverse. In contrast to the religious economy model that adopts a reductionist approach to the role of the state (either deregulation or patronage), I emphasize multiple state powers and the complexities of state-religion interplays in a specific sociopolitical context. It argues that the relation between state regulation and religious competition is contingent upon many factors including, but not limited to, the interplays between actors involved, sociocultural context, multiple and multilayered state powers. Second, state-regulated forms of patronage undertaken in Fujian demonstrate that the authority and legitimacy of the Chinese state has remained fortified through its multifunctional projects devoted to religious tourism, intra-religion competition and political unification with Taiwan, and that reconfigured governance has the potential to incorporate the “cultural nexus of power” through trade-offs between viability and autonomy. By surveying state presence in four Ciji temples, it also argues that the uneven revitalization of temple-based popular religion has in some cases affected and been affected by the stratification of state presence, and that the “partial institutionalization” of diffused religion has taken place, at least in certain temples, through the actions of party-state representatives and/or state policies aimed at channeling influential temples into modern state agendas. Third, both cultural festival and deity procession in Taiwan demonstrate that certain popular religion practices have been smoothly integrated into China’s political symbolism to “imagine” and “visualize” nation-state. Fourth, it suggests that an asymmetric symbiotic interrelationship between Chinese state and Taiwanese religious elites appeared in recent decades.