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Modernity, tourism and the geographies of religious change in a Bon region of Tibet

Nan, Ying (2014) Modernity, tourism and the geographies of religious change in a Bon region of Tibet. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the processes of religious change in a Tibetan region of China that has experienced relative economic prosperity stemming from a government-led tourism initiative. This research challenges and complements the traditional research on religious change which is based on quantitative analysis and macro-scale statistics and generally lacks in-depth and systemic empirical examination of the reasons and process in diverse (particularly non-western) contexts. It adopts a spatially-sensitive qualitative approach to researching religious change, focusing on both micro- and meso-scales, as well as institutional and non-institutional forms of religion. This research has used a case study approach, focusing on Jiuzhaigou with some contextual comparisons being provided by additional empirical research in nearby Anbei. Ethnographic methods including participant observation and in-depth interview with both laypeople and monks have been adopted for generating in-depth and meaningful data. In specific, it addresses the issues of religious change from three angles to reveal its complexity and nuances. Firstly, it looks at the changing religious landscape with a special focus on the shifting balance between institutional and non-institutional forms of religious expression. It argues that alongside dramatic political, economic, social and cultural changes in contemporary Tibet, religious change presents a shift toward non-institutional expression of religion. Secondly, it explores the changing geographies of the intergenerational transmission of religion by focusing on laypeople and the spaces of home and school. It argues that religious practices and religious belief are not equally and uniformly transmitted intergenerationally. Thirdly, it examines the changing imaginative geographies of religion and religious ‘authenticity’ with a particular focus on monks’ religious identities. It argues that the state othering process actually contributes to Tibetans’ religious and ethnic awareness, by reinforcing Tibetans’ difference from the Han and their ethnic identity, rather than homogenising ethnic minorities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Tibet, tourism, geographies of religious change, modernity, China, intergenerationality, Bon religion, Jiuzhaigou National Park, Tibetan monks, secularisation, institutionalisation
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: MISS Y NAN
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2015 09:15
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2015 09:15
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8284

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