A Harmonious Plurality of ‘Religious’ Expressions: Theories and Case Studies from the Chinese Practice of (Religious) Diversity

In: The Critical Analysis of Religious Diversity


The academic debate on religious diversity and pluralism of religions has started to recently address the case of China, where a plurality of religious behaviours and doctrines have co-existed – even if not always peacefully – since the dawn of Chinese civilization. When it concerns China, the preliminary discussion on religious diversity found its first difficulties in the adoption of the word ‘religion’, and reached the conclusion that both the construct of ‘religion’ and the concept of ‘diversity’ should be problematised and critically redefined in light of the China context.

This chapter will start with an overview of the arguments, theories, and methods already applied as frameworks for the study of religious diversity in China. The second part of the chapter will suggest looking at the Chinese understanding of ‘diversity’ from a cosmological, philosophical and social perspective. The chapter will then address ‘diversity’ as it emerges in the state-controlled social media and state education, and will finally look at the religious landscape in Sichuan province as a concrete example of religious diversity of the ground in China; the chapter then shifts from state-norms on religion and diversity to local emic and ritual practices of diversity.


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 100 52 5
Full Text Views 79 3 0
PDF Downloads 2 1 0