The Social Functionality of Multiple Religious Belonging in Modern China


In: Review of Religion and Chinese Society
Calida Chu Independent Researcher

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Multiple religious belonging refers to the idea that individuals can belong to more than one religious tradition. This article aims to explore the concept of multiple religious belonging in modern China, focusing on its pattern as well as the social functionality that gives rise to such a pattern. The methodology is developed using structural functionalism as formulated by, in particular, Emile Durkheim, who investigated how different institutions, practices, and customs come to exist because of their contribution to the reproduction and integration of society. This article studies the social functions of multiple religious belonging in three social units, from small to large: family, community, and the state. It explains how multiple religious belonging functions in modern China and thus consolidates each member’s identity within the social units.



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