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Title: Negotiating policy and practice : a micro-level analysis of Three-Self churches in a coastal Chinese city
Author: McLeister, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 7000
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2012
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This doctoral project is an ethnographic account of the interactions between Protestant Three-Self (TSPM) churches and the local state in a coastal Chinese city. Adopting a framework of embeddedness and developing the concept of symbiosis, the study presents an original and nuanced analysis of church-state relations. I demonstrate that the embedded nature of the churches in the local state and the symbiotic relationship between the Three-Self churches and the Religious Affairs Bureau allows for the creation of informal structures and procedures. The project analyses these informal channels, arguing that they provide space for religious activities, some of which occupy an ambiguous 'grey' area while others are officially prohibited. These activities help facilitate proselytising and the expansion of the churches. While religious specialists and lay believers seek to utilise their relationship with the state, they do not consciously resist the state but rather seek to spread the Protestant message which they believe is not in conflict with state projects but has more to offer than the political messages of the state. The relationship between the churches and local state institutions results in the state providing resources which aid in the transformation of the state-religion nexus.
Supervisor: Dryburgh, M. E. ; Hardie, A. M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available