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The Rise of Protestantism in Post-Mao China: State and Religion in Historical Perspective

Title
The Rise of Protestantism in Post-Mao China: State and Religion in Historical Perspective
Speaker(s)
Speaker: Dr Yanfei Sun # Zhejiang University; Introduced by: Dr Lilli Riga # University of Edinburgh; Hosted by: Sociology # University of Edinburgh; Hosted by: School of Divinity # University of Edinburgh
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
12th Sep 2016 15:30 - 12th Sep 2016 17:00
Location
18 3F2 Buccleuch Place
URL
http://www.sociology.ed.ac.uk/events2/seminar_series/2016_2017/the_rise_of_protestantism_in_post-mao_china_state_and_religion_in_historical_perspective

Based on fieldwork in a Chinese county, this article seeks to explain why Protestantism has experienced explosive growth in post-Mao China, but not before. The article identifies six institutional features of Chinese Protestantism vital to its rapid growth, but it does not make a simple institutional argument. Instead, it contends that each of these institutional features is a double-edged sword: each can facilitate or impede the spread of Protestantism depending on the context. Protestantism flourished in the post-Mao era because the Maoist state had dissolved the locally entrenched social/cultural resistance to Protestantism and because the post-Mao state’s market-oriented economic reform has created an environment conducive to the expansion of Protestantism. Theoretically, this article makes a claim that the effect of any religion’s institutional features on its growth is contingent on the sociopolitical context of the religion, and that the state is the most powerful actor creating and shaping that context.

sociology