Secularization Theories and the Study of Chinese Religions

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Secularization Theories and the Study of Chinese Religions

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Title: Secularization Theories and the Study of Chinese Religions
Author: Szonyi, Michael Andor
Citation: Szonyi, Michael. 2009. Secularization theories and the study of Chinese religions. Social Compass 56, no. 3: 312-327.
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Abstract: The author proposes a dialogue between recent literature on the history of Chinese popular religion and recent sociological debates about secularization theory, asking whether a better understanding of concepts, theories and evidence from one field may be productive in interpreting those of the other. The author suggests on the one hand that certain elements of secularization theory can be useful tools in understanding the modern history of religions in China and on the other that thinking about what secularization has meant in China is crucial to a comparative global history of religion and modernity. He also argues that attention to secularization both as a historical process and as a political ideology may help us to better understand the religious policies of the People’s Republic of China today.
Published Version: doi:10.1177/0037768609338765
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at
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