Mao's cult as an alternative modernity in China.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
As a consequence of the pervasiveness of traditional culture, Mao’s cult originated from the absolutely anti-religious environment during the early period of modern China. As a response to the modernization in today’s China, Mao’s cult has became a new tradition and evolved into a modern mode of Chinese popular religion, as well as non-religious patriotism, the legitimacy of the CCP, and Chinese national cohesion. That is to say, the tradition itself was created in the context of modernity, and both tradition and modernity possess only a kind of relative connotation. Therefore, the revival of Mao’s cult in today’s China, in the religious form or non-religious form, manifests the traditional Chinese culture persisting in the modern development of China, and thereby constructs a unique Chinese model of modern development --- an alternative modernity in other words. Therefore the western model might not the best choice for non-Western societies. It is impossible for non-western countries to either abandon their traditional culture to develop a whole new modernity, or to develop a homogenous modernity in accordance with western standards. Furthermore, there is no point arguing the superiority of the western model of development, by comparing western modernity with non-western modernity. Alternative modernities will become important phenomena in our developing world.