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Re-enchanting China: Private Religiosities in the Media Field in Beijing

Schwartz, Björn LU (2012) SANM03 20122
Social Anthropology
Abstract
The thesis examines two emergent religiosities which flourish among university students and young professionals connected with the private media field in Beijing. One case group consists of young successful professionals from the field of private media who have started to worship a living Buddha of the Vajrayana school. The other group consists of students from universities connected to the private media field who are becoming involved in the underground housechurch movement. The thesis shows how these religious practices are connected with the efforts of individuals and groups to position and distinguish - or distance themselves from what Amy Hanser has termed ‘The Emerging Structure of Entitlement.’ It links the religious practice to... (More)
The thesis examines two emergent religiosities which flourish among university students and young professionals connected with the private media field in Beijing. One case group consists of young successful professionals from the field of private media who have started to worship a living Buddha of the Vajrayana school. The other group consists of students from universities connected to the private media field who are becoming involved in the underground housechurch movement. The thesis shows how these religious practices are connected with the efforts of individuals and groups to position and distinguish - or distance themselves from what Amy Hanser has termed ‘The Emerging Structure of Entitlement.’ It links the religious practice to distinction practices which take place in the fields of clubbing and service interaction. It goes on to examine the group’s relation with and perception of themselves and the surrounding society. These are identified as being inscribed in two separate social and moral models which are both contained in the Imperial-Confucian cosmology, namely the hermeneutic model which can be described as hierarchical and relational, and the transformative model which can be described as egalitarian and universalistic. The thesis argues that the housechurch is a contemporary re-emergence of the social and moral model employed by Maoism, and that both the housechurch movement and Maoism should be understood as expressions of the transformative model inherent in the overarching Imperial-Confucian cosmology. It also argues that the Vajrayana Buddhist group should be seen as a contemporary expression of the hermeneutic model which is similarly contained in this cosmology. Finally, the thesis shows that the particular religious strategies employed by the groups are caused by their inscription in these models and in the overarching cosmology. (Less)
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@misc{3191777,
  abstract     = {The thesis examines two emergent religiosities which flourish among university students and young professionals connected with the private media field in Beijing. One case group consists of young successful professionals from the field of private media who have started to worship a living Buddha of the Vajrayana school. The other group consists of students from universities connected to the private media field who are becoming involved in the underground housechurch movement. The thesis shows how these religious practices are connected with the efforts of individuals and groups to position and distinguish - or distance themselves from what Amy Hanser has termed ‘The Emerging Structure of Entitlement.’ It links the religious practice to distinction practices which take place in the fields of clubbing and service interaction. It goes on to examine the group’s relation with and perception of themselves and the surrounding society. These are identified as being inscribed in two separate social and moral models which are both contained in the Imperial-Confucian cosmology, namely the hermeneutic model which can be described as hierarchical and relational, and the transformative model which can be described as egalitarian and universalistic. The thesis argues that the housechurch is a contemporary re-emergence of the social and moral model employed by Maoism, and that both the housechurch movement and Maoism should be understood as expressions of the transformative model inherent in the overarching Imperial-Confucian cosmology. It also argues that the Vajrayana Buddhist group should be seen as a contemporary expression of the hermeneutic model which is similarly contained in this cosmology. Finally, the thesis shows that the particular religious strategies employed by the groups are caused by their inscription in these models and in the overarching cosmology.},
  author       = {Schwartz, Björn},
  keyword      = {chinese dialectics,chinese cosmology,Maoism,enchantment,disenchantment,VIP religion,guanxi-networking,post-socialist subjectivity,clubbing as networking and status affirmation,field analysis,status,the emerging structure of entitlement,social change in contemporary China,the private media field in Beijing,conversion,Vajrayana Buddhism,christianity,housechurch,religious revival,emergent social hierarchy,private religions,secret social movements,the Christian field in China,the Buddhist field in China. Housechurch as millenarianism. Comparing Housechurch with cult of Mao.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Re-enchanting China: Private Religiosities in the Media Field in Beijing},
  year         = {2012},
}