Body, Science, and Utopia in ChinaPart of the CERI/Sciences Po. series
This book is a social history of the qigong craze which swept urban socialist China in the post-Mao era, leading to the emergence of Falun Gong and its subsequent repression. How could a system of body, breath and mental training exercises, initially promoted by senior Communist Party leaders as a uniquely Chinese healing tradition and as the harbinger of a future scientific revolution, become an outlet for a mass expression of religiosity which was then ruthlessly crushed by the Chinese state? Tracing the complex relations between the masters, officials, scientists, practitioners, and ideologues involved with the qigong movement, the book combines historical, anthropological, and sociological approaches to describe a critical phase in the reinvention of Chinese tradition in its encounter with modernity and the state. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Chinese religion and body cultivation, contemporary Chinese culture and politics, and religious movements in the modern world.
David A. Palmer is director of the Hong Kong Centre of the Ecole Française d’ Extrême-Orient (EFEO) and is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.