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Sustaining Faith TraditionsRace, Ethnicity, and Religion among the Latino and Asian American Second Generation$
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Carolyn Chen and Russell Jeung

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814717356

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814717356.001.0001

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Second-Generation Chinese Americans

Second-Generation Chinese Americans

The Familism of the Nonreligious

(p.197) Chapter 10 Second-Generation Chinese Americans
Sustaining Faith Traditions

Russell Jeung

NYU Press

This chapter presents a study of second-generation Chinese Americans and how family is the center of their spirituality and religiosity. It demonstrates the difference between Western definitions of religion as a public institutionalized phenomenon and Asian religious practices that are noninsitutionalized and centered around the family. These Chinese Americans identify as nonreligious, yet, they still make use of religious repertoires of Chinese popular religion. The second generation participates in the so-called “Chinese American familism,” wherein the family is the object of worship, sacrifice, and moral obligation. Chinese Americans interpret their familism as ethnic and family traditions. Contrary to Herberg's theory, these Chinese Americans do not need a religious identity to belong in the US, collective family solidarity seems to be enough.

Keywords:   second-generation Chinese Americans, family, familism, Western religion, Asian religious practices, Chinese popular religion, Herberg

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