Since the early 1980s, China's rapid ecomic growth and social transformation have greatly altered the role of popular religion in the country. This book makes a new contribution to the research on the phemen by examining the role which popular religion has played in modern Chinese politics. Popular Religion in Modern China uses Nuo as an example of how a popular religion has been directly incorporated into the Chinese Community Party's (CCP) policies and how the religion functions as a tool to maintain socio-political stability, safeguard national unification and raise the country's cultural 'soft power' in the eyes of the world. It provides rich new material on the interplay between contemporary Chinese politics, popular religion and ecomic development in a rapidly changing society.
Lan Li received her PhD in Social Anthropology from Queen's University Belfast, UK in 1998 and the research was funded by the university and the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. Her doctoral thesis, entitled 'Nuo: Shamanism among the Tujia of Southwest China' studied the rise of popular religions in contemporary China and its changing role in the process of profound social transformation in post-Mao era. The thesis was later published in book form in Chinese. Her most recent publication in this area is the article entitled 'The Changing Role of the Popular Religion of Nuo in Modern Chinese Politics' which was published by Modern Asian Studies in 2010. Dr Li is a member of the British Association for Chinese Studies and the Association for Chinese Studies in Ireland. She is currently a member of staff at the Irish Institute for Chinese Studies at University College Dublin.