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Rethinking Mediumship in Contemporary Wenzhou

Rethinking Mediumship in Contemporary Wenzhou The study of spirit mediums has drawn the attention of international scholars from the 1960s onward, and the topic continues to thrive. Yet little work has been done on spirit mediums in mainland China, which have mainly been glimpsed through studies of mediumship in Taiwan. This article draws on ethnographic research to explore the diverse traditions of spirit mediums in Wenzhou. While spirit mediums are viewed with ambivalence, they play a significant role within broader Chinese folk religions. It is crucial to understand spirit mediums through the appropriate cultural context in order to understand their diverse practices and roles in local society. I discuss why Wenzhou’s mediumship should be regarded as a form of shamanism in spite of differences between its discourse and practices and those of Minnan mediumship, as well as those of Siberian or Korean shamanism. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Religion and Chinese Society Brill

Rethinking Mediumship in Contemporary Wenzhou

Review of Religion and Chinese Society , Volume 6 (2): 24 – Dec 12, 2019

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
2214-3947
eISSN
2214-3955
DOI
10.1163/22143955-00602005
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The study of spirit mediums has drawn the attention of international scholars from the 1960s onward, and the topic continues to thrive. Yet little work has been done on spirit mediums in mainland China, which have mainly been glimpsed through studies of mediumship in Taiwan. This article draws on ethnographic research to explore the diverse traditions of spirit mediums in Wenzhou. While spirit mediums are viewed with ambivalence, they play a significant role within broader Chinese folk religions. It is crucial to understand spirit mediums through the appropriate cultural context in order to understand their diverse practices and roles in local society. I discuss why Wenzhou’s mediumship should be regarded as a form of shamanism in spite of differences between its discourse and practices and those of Minnan mediumship, as well as those of Siberian or Korean shamanism.

Journal

Review of Religion and Chinese SocietyBrill

Published: Dec 12, 2019

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