Transnational Sacralizations: When Daoist Monks meet Global Spiritual Tourists

Submitted by James Miller on Thu, 02/21/2013 - 11:36
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TitleTransnational Sacralizations: When Daoist Monks meet Global Spiritual Tourists
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsPalmer, D. A.
JournalEthnosEthnos
Pagination1 - 24
Date Published2012
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN Number0014-1844
Abstract

This article examines the production of sacrality in the context of globalization, through the case of encounters between international spiritual tourists and Chinese monks. The sacred mountain of Huashan has historically been localized in the context of Daoist cosmology, Chinese imperial civilizing, socialist nation-building and, now, global capitalism. While the monks experience Huashan as a gateway for embeddedness into Daoist lineage, ritual, and cosmology, the spiritual tourists approach it as a fountain of raw, consumable energy on a path of disembedding and individuation. But encounters between the two groups lead to the mutual interference and interpenetration of both trajectories. Undermining dichotomist concepts of the sacred which define it as either essentially Other or as socially constructed and contested, the sacrality of Huashan serves as both an anchor for multiple centralizing projects and forces, and as a catalyst and node for the formation of interconnecting and expanding horizontal networks.This article examines the production of sacrality in the context of globalization, through the case of encounters between international spiritual tourists and Chinese monks. The sacred mountain of Huashan has historically been localized in the context of Daoist cosmology, Chinese imperial civilizing, socialist nation-building and, now, global capitalism. While the monks experience Huashan as a gateway for embeddedness into Daoist lineage, ritual, and cosmology, the spiritual tourists approach it as a fountain of raw, consumable energy on a path of disembedding and individuation. But encounters between the two groups lead to the mutual interference and interpenetration of both trajectories. Undermining dichotomist concepts of the sacred which define it as either essentially Other or as socially constructed and contested, the sacrality of Huashan serves as both an anchor for multiple centralizing projects and forces, and as a catalyst and node for the formation of interconnecting and expanding horizontal networks.

URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2012.714396