Zhiyong Shen

Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Anthropology


Qi gong--Social aspects--China; Medicine; Chinese--Social aspects; Exercise--Social aspects--China; China--Social life and customs--1949-


Qigong (Chinese yoga) has been practiced for thousands of years in China. But in the past five decades, it has developed into a conspicuous social movement that involves more than sixty-million practitioners. With its diverse content that involves medicine, science, religion, philosophy, education, and even agricultural and industrial productions, the qigong movement has had a great influence on various aspects of Chinese society. The objectives of this thesis were: 1) to exam the qigong movement in modem China, and 2) to explore the social and cultural causes of this movement. Because qigong has a long history and is deeply embedded in Chinese conceptual systems, the introduction to the qigong movement involved an introduction to the theoretical, historical, and cultural backgrounds of qigong as well as a description of its vigorous development in the modem age. The exploration of the causes of this movement was carried out by developing a three-part explantory model that involved several hypotheses and paradigms. These hypotheses and paradigms were put forward by some scholars in their studies of medical pluralism, social movements, and the nature of individuality, social dependency, and social structure in Chinese culture. Each of these phenomena is related to the qigong movement, but can only partially account for its causes. However, these hypotheses and paradigms altogether offered an embracing explanation to the major causes of the qigong movement. This thesis suggests that the qigong movement has had a great significance in ABSTRACT Chinese medicine and science, and it embodies the revival of the Chinese culture.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [122]-129).


iv, 138 pages




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