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14 NOV 2023 (TUE) 13:35 - 13:55

Lived religiosity in secular modernity: A case study of traditional Chinese religions in Hong Kong

Miss YU Po Sheung

(Supervisor: Dr Junxi Qian)



Abstract:

While secularization theory has posited that religion inherently differs from the profane modern system in terms of states and markets, the status quo is neoliberal modernity has been substantially (re)shaping religion through market economy and logic. Geographers have revealed that religious organizations take on the role of entrepreneur to manage religious spaces and operate religious businesses and regarded the religious sector adopting this kind of developmental strategy as entrepreneurial religion. However, current research on religious entrepreneurship primarily focuses on the institutional aspect and religious economy, overlooking how individuals participate and experience in the process of religious marketization. This research thus investigates religious entrepreneurialization from the perspective of lived religion. The lived religion approach provides a valuable analytical framework for examining how religion is experienced and practised by faith actors and ordinary followers in their daily lives, where their behaviours are not solely grounded in secular logic and profit making. It offers multiple logics to comprehend religion beyond the process of marketization and sheds light on people’s embodiments and affects. This theoretical mission is explored by investigating Chinese religions in Hong Kong. Being such a profane society with its neoliberal capitalist regime, Hong Kong has never lost track of religion but instead established a fertile ground for religion to engage with secular politics and public affairs. Its major Chinese religions: Buddhism and Taoism, have evidentiated religious sectors’ active participation in market economy and their production of religious marketplace. This research delves into the entanglement between entrepreneurial behaviours of Chinese traditional religions and the everyday practices through which religions are lived, experienced, and performed. It will be conducive to enhancing the limited portrayal of religious space in Hong Kong and addressing the lack of knowledge of how non-Western religions are being reformed through geographical processes.

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