The panacea of culture: the changing fortunes and careers of China’s Dongba priests

Xie, Zheng and Altman, Yochanan (2015) The panacea of culture: the changing fortunes and careers of China’s Dongba priests. Cross Cultural Management, 22 (4). pp. 649-660. ISSN 1352-7606 (doi:10.1108/CCM-01-2015-0001)

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Abstract

Purpose
On the background of China’s turn to a market economy and a consumer driven society this case study recounts the fortunes of the age-old religion of the Naxi people and their farmer-priests, the dongba.
Methodology
Detailed ethnography, including participant observation, the collection of life histories and interviews.
Findings
The might of the tourist industry dominates the changes in the profession of the dongba priests, from a faith-based practice to a tourist-driven service; aided by a confluence of interests of relevant stakeholders: the Chinese state, the provincial governments, the Naxi elite. At the core is the transformation, in Chinese terms, from a superstitious religion to culture heritage.
Practical implications
Shedding light on a little known aspect of the world’s largest economy is of high relevance to business & management scholars.
Social implications
The transformation of the dongba demonstrates how major societal changes that happen within a couple of decades affect a society and its economy and a central career track within it.
Originality
The case study testifies to the encounter of a major modern industry: tourism, with an archaic religion in a remote corner of China, and the transformation of the latter as result.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 19672
Depositing User: Bernadett Dunn
Date Deposited: 03 May 2016 11:30
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 18:35
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/19672

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