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The Rising Social Scientific Study Of Religion In China

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of this book, which presents a selection of sociological and anthropological studies of religion in China with empirical data. The book also presents examples of recent anthropological and sociological studies of religion by mainland-based scholars. It includes explorations of the impact of religion on society, a topic which has been much debated in China since the 1980s, as scholars and officials studied and accommodated the revivals of religion, but worried about the consequences. The recent revival of religion in Chinese society has brought significant challenges not only to the social theories of religion, including the very conceptualization of religion, but also to individual identities, communities, organizations, and society. In Chinese societies, the salience of religion ranges from high, in Taiwan, to very low (according to survey research so far) in mainland China.

Keywords: anthropological studies; Chinese societies; religion; sociological studies



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