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Handbook of Religion and the Asian CityAspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-First Century$
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Peter van der Veer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520281226

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520281226.001.0001

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date: 01 June 2020

Territorial Cults and the Urbanization of the Chinese World

Territorial Cults and the Urbanization of the Chinese World

A Case Study of Suzhou

(p.52) 3 Territorial Cults and the Urbanization of the Chinese World
Handbook of Religion and the Asian City

Vincent Goossaert

University of California Press

This chapter explores the relationship between urbanization and territoriality using the Chinese city of Suzhou as a case study and by drawing examples from other cities in the Jiangnan region. It begins with an overview of the place of religion in Chinese local society by focusing on its four dimensions: space, time, economy, and sociality. In particular, it describes socioreligious territories in Suzhou before 1949. It then discusses who has retained memories of this territorial organization and in what kind of context these memories still function, with particular emphasis on the process of transforming villages into urban districts and how the village gods have been forcibly grouped together in large official temples. It also examines the impact of new territorial configurations on rituals and festivals in Suzhou.

Keywords:   urbanization, territoriality, Suzhou, religion, socioreligious territories, villages, village gods, temples, rituals, festivals

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