Appropriating and Negotiating State-defined Religious Space in a Chinese City

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

The literature on religion and the state in contemporary China has largely ignored issues of space in how these two domains interact. With regards to Protestantism specifically, there is a severe lack of scholarship on Protestant churches at the local level. Informed by Lefebvre’s notions of representations of space and representational space, this paper will explore the interactions between a group of churches and the local state in an urban China context. The study utilises ethnographic data generated over an extended period in a rapidly-expanding coastal city in mainland China to analyse both how the local state seeks to designate and limit spaces for religious activity as well as the rationale for doing so. This study will argue that by defining specific spaces for Protestant activity (separated from public urban space) the state has unintentionally facilitated the development of Protestant congregations in terms of their cohesive identity. This shared identity is a catalyst for the contestation and negotiation of state-defined space carried out by these churches engaging in a range of religious activities prohibited by the local state. Thus, this analysis furthers our understanding of how the politics of space is transformed as Protestant congregations appropriate and influence urban locales.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013
EventPower, Identity and the Authoritarian State: Urban Experiences Juxtaposed - The Royal Geographical Society, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Aug 201330 Aug 2013

Conference

ConferencePower, Identity and the Authoritarian State: Urban Experiences Juxtaposed
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period28/08/1330/08/13

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Appropriating and Negotiating State-defined Religious Space in a Chinese City'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this