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Civic Faith And Hybrid Ritual In Nationalist China

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the difficult relationship between religious practice and mass politics by examining the case of the Chinese Nationalist Party in the late 1920s and 1930s. The attempt to disassociate beliefs from ritual constituted a wrenching dislocation from this world. More intriguing and more important are the instances of hybrid symbols and hybrid rituals. The editorial's characterization of China's peasants as yet unaware of their own human potential is consistent with the anti-superstition stance of the Nationalists, which held that the people must be taught self-reliance. The religious implications of the crisis of civic faith emerged in other ways as well. Not only did the Nationalists find a portion of the populace unsatisfied by their refusal to assume a more direct ritual role, but they discovered that another segment was busy adapting Kuomintang (KMT) symbols to its own ritual purposes.

Keywords: Chinese Nationalist Party; civic faith; hybrid rituals; Kuomintang (KMT) symbols; mass politics; religious practice



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