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The Modern Spirit of AsiaThe Spiritual and the Secular in China and India$
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Peter van der Veer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691128146

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691128146.001.0001

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Secularism’s Magic

Secularism’s Magic

(p.115) Chapter 5 Secularism’s Magic
The Modern Spirit of Asia

Peter van der Veer

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses the question of “popular religion” and the relation between religion and magic in India and China. The categories of popular belief, superstition, and magic have been used by modernizers in India and China to intervene in people's daily practices and remove obstacles to the total transformation of their communities. These attempts have developed in different ways in India and China, but in neither case have they been entirely successful. After a historical discussion of heterodoxy, messianic movements, and political protest, the chapter delineates the transformation of popular religion in India and China under the influence of liberalization of the economy and globalization.

Keywords:   popular religion, magic, India, China, superstition, modernizers, heterodoxy, messianic movements, liberalization

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