Chinese religion, market society and the state


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    Introduction The familiar discussion of the nexus between religion and economy has emblematic representation in Max Weber's classic account of the elective affinity between Calvinism and the spirit of modern capitalism (Weber, 1991). Weber's demonstration of the supportive role of religious belief for capitalistic development is reversed, however, in his treatment of the history of China in which it is argued that Confucianism and Daoism had a compelling restraining impact on economic rationalization (Weber, 1964). This reversal has an additional dimension, insofar as an unintended consequence of the development of an expanding market economy and concomitant industrialization in China since the Deng Xiaoping reforms in 1978 has been to provide a space for religious expression unprecedented since the advent of the communist regime in 1949, and possibly even before this time given the predominantly negative policies toward religion by the state during the republican period from 1912. Indeed, since the onset of the reform period in the 1980s there has been not only more evidence of religious commitment and activity in both rural and urban areas but also changes in the nature of individual religions and in the numbers of religious adherents. The most striking religious changes in the People's Republic of China (PRC) over the last 25 or so years have been twofold. The first consists of the reforms in both Buddhism and Daoism, especially in outreach and growth in the numbers of temples, priests and adherents or participants, which have largely been state sponsored or supported.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationReligion and the State
    Subtitle of host publicationA Comparative Sociology
    PublisherAnthem Press
    Number of pages22
    ISBN (Electronic)9780857288073
    ISBN (Print)0857287982, 9780857287984
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Publication series

    NameKey Issues in Modern Sociology
    PublisherAnthem Press

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Social Sciences(all)


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