University of Tasmania
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Practice theory, ancestor worship, and ritual : an alternative approach to a cross-cultural understanding of Chinese culture

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posted on 2023-05-26, 17:57 authored by Lakos, W
An exposition and analysis of Chinese ancestor worship and its correlations, especially filial piety and ritual, will show its intrinsic importance to Chinese culture, both normatively and epistemologically. By using a practice theory - ritual approach the thesis highlights the relationship between the rituals of ancestor worship and their meaning within Chinese culture. In emphasizing the efficacy of ritual to cultural meaning the thesis offers an alternative approach to the dominant discourse which regards Confucianism as the prime cultural symbol and paradigm of Chinese culture. This thesis proposes that the practice of ancestor worship has underpinned Chinese culture in many influential and vital ways and provides a nuanced and more efficacious paradigm through which Chinese culture may be viewed. This is a new approach which finds its inception in a number of contemporary theories related to both practice theory and ritual communication theory, and suggests that this symbolic- practice oriented approach, with an associated focus on ritual and rituals, will overcome the ethno-centered biases of other traditional and conventional approaches.


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  • Unpublished

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Copyright 2009 the author Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2009. Includes bibliographical references. Introduction: A new approach to understanding Chinese culture -- Ch. 1. Theoretical underpinnings - Rationale and method -- Ch. 2. Challenging the dominant discourse: Confucianism-as-chinese-culture -- Ch. 3. Watching the ancestors: what is ancestor worship? -- Ch. 4. Mind-ing the ancestors -- Ch. 5. Living with the ancestors: filial piety -- Ch. 6. Two concepts of ritual and two understandings of Li -- Ch. 7. Conclusions and consequences -- Bibliography.

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  • Open

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