Accepted paper:

Shifting Spaces: An Ethnographic Account of a House Church in Shanghai, China

Author:

Sin Wen Lau (University of Otago)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I focus on the processes through which the private house of a hyper mobile overseas Chinese family is transformed into a house church. In doing so, I explore how religion enables a sense of stability in a state of high mobility.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores how religion enables a sense of stability in a state of high mobility. I examine the processes through which place is centered at a point of tension where individual desires, state projects of development interlocking a global capitalist system and a treacherous religious landscape converge. Ethnographically, I investigate how and why the private home of a hyper mobile family is transformed into a house church and what it means for them. I argue that it is by inhabiting a house suspended in motion that moving families find stability, a groundedness made real through faith. The data discussed in this paper is based on eighteen months of fieldwork within an unofficial Christian network operating in the Chinese city of Shanghai. The Christians I discuss are overseas Chinese who were drawn to China in the reform period for economic reasons and viewed by the Chinese state as foreigners.

panel P45
Religious relations In Asia