De jiao. A religious movement in contemporary China and overseas : purple qi from the East

Bernard Formoso

Publié le 20 janvier 2013 Mis à jour le 20 janvier 2013

National University of Singapore Press, Singapore, 2010, 280 pages

De Jiao ("Teaching of Virtue") is a China-born religious movement, based on spirit-writing and rooted in the tradition of the "halls for good deeds," which emerged in Chaozhou during the Sino-Japanese war. The book relates the fascinating process of its spread throughout Southeast Asia in the 1950s, and, more recently, from Thailand and Malaysia to post-Maoist China and the global world.
Through a richly-documented multi-site ethnography of De Jiao congregations in the PRC, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, Bernard Formoso offers valuable insights into the adaptation of Overseas Chinese to sharply contrasted national polities, and the projective identity they build with relation to China. De Jiao is of special interest with regard to its organization and strategies which strongly reflect the managerial habits and entrepreneurial ethos of the Overseas Chinese businessmen. It has also built original bonding with symbols of the Chinese civilization whose greatness it claims to champion from the periphery. Accordingly, a central theme of the study is the role that such a religious movement may play to promote new forms of identification with the motherland as substitutes for loosened genealogical links. The book also offers a comprehensive interpretation of the contemporary practice of fu ji spirit-writing, and reconsiders the relation between unity and diversity in Chinese religion.
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Mis à jour le 20 janvier 2013