Redemptive Societies and New Religious Movements in Modern China, part I

Special issue on “Redemptive Societies and New Religious Movements in Modern China,” I

David A. Palmer, Paul R. Katz, Wang Chien-chuan. “Introduction: Redemptive Societies as Confucian NRMs?” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 172 (2011.6): 1-12.

“Redemptive societies” is a term coined by Prasenjit Duara in his article “The Discourse of Civilization and Pan-Asianism” in 2001, referring to a wave of religious movements which appeared in Republican China, including the Tongshanshe同善社, Daoyuan道院, Yiguandao一貫道 and so on, which combined the Chinese tradition of “syncretic sects” with philanthropy, social engagement, and aspirations to build a new universal civilization. These groups arguably constituted the largest wave of religious revival in Republican China. The destruction or confiscation of local temples opened a space for their deterritorialised networks, while elaboration of new formulations of sovereignty, modernity and civic duty gave them cultural and social significance as providers of charity and as mediators between Chinese spiritual tradition and modern constructions of nationhood and universal civilization. Redemptive societies were precursors of the qigong 氣功 movement in the post-Mao People’s Republic and of the popular Confucian revival of the early 21st century; and they continue to occupy an important place in the religious landscapes of Taiwan, Vietnam, and among Chinese diaspora communities in Southeast Asia.
In spite of their significant role and impact, redemptive societies remain relatively ignored in scholarship on religion in modern China, appearing primarily in the mainland historiography of “reactionary sects and secret societies” 反動會道門 and in ethnographic works on religion in post-war Taiwan. This special double issue (nos. 172 and 173) of Min-su chü-i 民俗曲藝 (Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore) represents an initial attempt to fill that gap through a selection of articles which critically examine the category of redemptive societies, present case studies, and explore their interactions with their socio-political environment and with other types of religious groups.

王見川、康豹、宗樹人。〈導言:救世團體研究的回顧〉。《民俗曲藝》172 (2011.6): 13-20
Wang Chien-chuan, Paul R. Katz, David A. Palmer. “Introduction: The Emergence of Academic Research on Redemptive Societies.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 172 (2011.6): 13-20.



Articles in this special issue

David A. Palmer. “Chinese Redemptive Societies and Salvationist Religion: Historical Phenomenon or Sociological Category?” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 172 (2011.6): 21-72.
宗樹人。〈民國救世團體與中國救度宗教:歷史現象還是社會學類別?〉。《民俗曲藝》172 (2011.6): 21-72

Thomas David DuBois. “The Salvation of Religion? Public Charity and the New Religions of the Early Republic.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 172 (2011.6): 73-126.
杜博思。〈宗教救濟?民初的新興宗教與慈善團體的演變〉。《民俗曲藝》172 (2011.6): 73-126

王見川。〈同善社早期的特點及在雲南的發展(1912-1937)︰兼談其與「鸞壇」、「儒教」的關係〉。《民俗曲藝》172 (2011.6): 127-59
Wang Chien-chuan. “Early Characteristics of the Tongshanshe and Its Development in Yunnan (1912-1937), with a Note on the Relationship between ‘Spirit-writing Shrines’ and ‘Religious Confucianism’” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 172 (2011.6): 127-59.

范純武。〈民初儒學的宗教化:段正元與道德學社的個案研究〉。《民俗曲藝》172 (2011.6): 161-203
Fan Chun-wu. “The Religious Development of Confucianism in Early Republican China: A Case Study of Duan Zhengyuan and the Daode Xueshe.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 172 (2011.6): 161-203.

李世偉。〈海濱扶聖道:戰後臺灣民間儒教結社與活動 (1945-1970)〉。《民俗曲藝》172 (2011.6): 205-30
Li Shyh-wei. “Promoting Confucianism in Remote Places: Confucian Associations and Their Activities in Early Postwar Taiwan (1945–1970).” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 172 (2011.6): 205-30.

Research Paper

吳翠松。〈文字/電子時代的口傳技藝:一個苗栗客家山歌婚宴表演場域的觀察〉。《民俗曲藝》172 (2011.6): 231-77
Wu Tsui-sung. “The Verbal Art in a Literate/Electronic Age: A Case Study of Hakka Folksong Performance in Weddings.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 172 (2011.6): 231-77.