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5 Beyond Globalization and Secularization: Changing Religion and Philanthropy in Lukang, Taiwan

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains what the author thought was a new phenomenon in Taiwan's religious world: a clear increase in public charitable activity organized through religious institutions of all kinds over the last two decades. This change correlated with a world-wide increase in such activity, and appeared to be the result of the globalization of a pattern that began in the West. The timing of the changes in Lukang's Presbyterian Church meshes with other kinds of evidence. The author first research on religion in Taiwan, for example, began in 1977, with an extended period of fieldwork in the northern Taiwanese township of Sanhsia. The term 'secularization' is used in many ways in the social sciences. There is no doubt that nineteenth-century religious philanthropy and its offshoots like the Red Cross spread around the world, including Taiwan. The international business clubs brought similar ideas in the middle of the twentieth century.

Keywords: globalization; Lukang's Presbyterian Church; religious philanthropy; secularization; Taiwan's religious world



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