Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Shamanism and Spirit Possession in Chinese Modernity: Some Preliminary Reflections on a Gendered Religiosity of the Body

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Review of Religion and Chinese Society

Recent fieldwork in rural and small-town Wenzhou reveals that shamans, ritual healers, and spirit mediums have reemerged in the post-Mao era, slowing a long decline that may have started with the ascendancy of Neo-Confucianism in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and that was exacerbated by Maoist-era suppressions. Unlike the shamanistic cultures of contemporary Taiwan, Fujian, and Chinese ethnic enclaves in Southeast Asia, and what we know of China in late imperial times, most spirit mediums in Wenzhou today are women who do not engage in the bloody and violent public ritual performances found in those areas where male shamans predominate. This article reflects upon four possible explanations for the modern animosity toward shamanism and spirit possession by Chinese officialdom and mainstream Chinese society today. It suggests that the fourth possible explanation, one focusing on the bodily performances and gender of shamans, has not been adequately explored in the study of Chinese shamanism. This fourth explanation deserves attention in any future studies of spirit possession in contemporary China, as it does not treat China as an isolated case of shamanism in the world, but places Chinese shamanism in the larger global context of a shared reconfiguration of the human body in global modernity.巫術與中國現代性:有関性别與身體宗教性的初步探討摘要近期在溫州農村和小鎮的實地考察显示出巫術、巫醫和靈媒在後毛澤東時代再次出現,減緩了其經歷明清時期新儒學佔據統治地位,和毛澤東時代壓制形成的長期下降趨勢。與同時期台灣、福建和其他華裔生活的東南亞地區,以及我們所熟知的中華帝國晚期的巫術文化不同,如今在溫州大部分的靈媒都是女性,並且,她們沒有像男巫師一樣在她們主導的剬開宗教儀式裡進行血腥和暴力的禮儀行為。本篇論文探討了四個可能的原因,解釋當今中國官方和主流社會對巫術和靈媒的反感和憎惡。文章中提出的第四個原因,關於巫師儀式表演和巫師的性別問題,至今未在有關中國巫術的研究中被深入挖掘。因此,這個問題需要在今後研究現代中國的靈魂控制等相關課題時得到更多的重視,不應把中國巫術作為一個孤立的個案,而應該把中國巫術研究放在更大的全球環境中,共同探討其在全球現代化中身體構造的重新組合。

Affiliations: 1: Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara,


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Review of Religion and Chinese Society — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation