Religion in Reform-Era China: A Political Economic Approach

Religion in Reform-Era China: A Political Economic Approach

Fenggang Yang - Associate Professor of Sociology, Purdue University

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Room 110, Environmental Science Center See map
21 Sachem Street
New Haven, CT 6511

All kinds of religions have been reviving in reform-era China despite restrictive regulations. To describe and explain the paradoxical phenomena, I borrow some notions of the “shortage economy” by Janos Kornai (1980, 1992) who made the most penetrating analysis of the material economy in the classic Communist/Socialist System. Besides describing demand-side dynamics of queuing up, searching, substituting, and suppressing the demand for religion, I also hope to develop a conceptual framework that would incorporate both conventional religions and their competing alternatives into the model, including institutionalized religion, folk or popular religion, alternative spiritualities, and secularism/Communism.

Related readings:

Yang, Fenggang and Joseph Tamney, eds. 2005. State, Market, and Religions in Chinese Societies. Leiden, Netherlands and Boston, MA: Brill Academic Publishers. (Especially my chapters “Between Secularist Ideology and Desecularizing Reality: The Birth and Growth of Religious Research in Communist China”, “The Cross Faces the Loudspeakers: A Village Church Perseveres Under State Power” (with Jianbo Huang), and “The Bailin Buddhist Temple: Thriving Under Communism” (with Dedong Wei).

Yang, Fenggang. 2005. “Lost in the Market, Saved at McDonald’s: Conversion to Christianity in Urban China.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 44 (4): 423-441.

Yang, Fenggang. 2006. “The Red, Black, and Gray Markets of Religion in China.” Sociological Quarterly 47: 93-122.

Yang, Fenggang. 2007. “Cultural Dynamics in China: Today and in 2020.” Asia Policy 4 (July): 41-52.

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