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About usFaculty of Theology and Religious StudiesResearchCSRCAEvents

Colloquium on Asian religions | Buddhism, religious affiliation and social visibility in contemporary Korea

When:Th 02-06-2016 16:00 - 17:30
Where:Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 125

Speaker: Dr. Florence Galmiche (Université Paris Diderot)

Buddhism, religious affiliation and social visibility in contemporary Korea

This presentation addresses the contemporary ambition of Buddhist actors and institutions to redefine and affirm their place in South Korean society. On the basis of ethnographical and sociological data, it presents how Buddhist temples in Seoul have undertaken massive development projects and broadened their activities in order to adapt to the population’s demands and to promote a formal religious adhesion both on individual and collective basis. In a context of strong concurrence among religious groups, and especially between Buddhist temples and Protestant churches, many Buddhist leaders aim at strengthening their religious denomination by developing a more “conscious”, “proud” and “collective” affiliation among the believers, with the explicit aim that religiously educated and socialized Buddhists would contribute to represent Buddhism in society and subsequently to its influence. By analyzing this phenomenon, this paper will explore the ambivalent relationship of Buddhism with the Protestant “megachurch” model and the new positioning of temples in Seoul.