Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

3 - What Chinese-ness means to the Yiguan Dao Cross-Ethnic Members in Thailand

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Rudraksha, Lower Ground Floor

Most studies on Chinese religions in Southeast Asia tend to put all the factors, such as ethnicity, language, religion, tradition, community, and so on together under the framework of ‘Chinese’. However, some scholars criticize this view as it ignores the local context in the mainstream society (Yeh 1993) or falls into tautology (Tsuda 2016). In my recent studies, I try to avoid this problem, and take Yiguan Dao in Thailand as an example, to reveal its dynamic relations with Thai social change and Thai Buddhism (Lin 2016, 2017). Many Yiguan Dao members in Thailand are not necessarily ethnic Chinese. However, this does not mean ‘Chineseness’ plays no role in Yiguan Dao in Thailand. In this study, I want to deconstruct the ‘Chineseness’, and rethink how Yiguan Dao members in Thailand think and practice the ‘Chineseness’ in this cross-ethnic context.


 I will discuss this issue from two parts. First, is Yiguan Dao in Thailand a ‘Chinese religion’? I will examine it from its origin, ethnicity of its members, and its organization and teachings. On the other hand, I will reveal what its origin, ethnicity, and language usage means to its members in cross-ethnic interactions. 

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