Taiwanese Religious Communities and their Internationalization Strategies (guojihua) since the 1980s
Research AreaChinese Studies / Study of Religion
This project explores the global spread of the two Taiwanese religious organizations Foguangshan (“Buddha’s Light Mountain”) and Yiguandao (“Way of Pervading Unity”) by studying their transnational social spaces. Both religious organizations seek to spread their religious and cultural traditions on a global scale, especially since the gradual relaxation of political restraints in Taiwan during the 1980s. Their endeavours connect and cross countries relevant to Chinese migration patterns as well as border crossing spatial arrangements like transnational communities (e.g., Chinese diaspora, Chinese cultural spheres, Buddhist communities). Focusing on four different field sites – South Africa, the United States, Hong Kong, and Japan – and applying the methodological framework of multi-sited ethnography, we aim to understand the transnational organizational structures, creation of transnational social spaces, and dynamics of central control and decentralization of the two religious organizations.