Family Sacrifices

The Worldviews and Ethics of Chinese Americans

Russell M. Jeung,

Family Sacrifices: The Worldviews and Ethics of Chinese Americans
 
 
Fifty-two percent of Chinese Americans report having no religious affiliation, making them the least religiously-identified ethnic group in the United States. But that statistic obscures a much more complex reality. Family Sacrifices reveals that Chinese Americans employ familism, not religion, as the primary narrative by which they find meaning, identity, and belonging. As a transpacific lived tradition, Chinese American familism prioritizes family above other commitments and has roots in Chinese Popular Religion and Confucianism. The spiritual and ethical systems of China emphasize practicing rituals and cultivating virtue, whereas American religious research usually focuses on belief in the supernatural or belonging to a religious tradition. To address this gap in understanding, Family Sacrifices introduces the concept of liyi, translated as ritual propriety and righteous relations. Re-appropriated from its original Chinese usage, liyi offers a new way of understanding Chinese religion and a new lens for understanding the emergence of religious "nones" in the United States. The first book based on national survey data on Asian American religious practices, Family Sacrifices is a seminal text on the fastest-growing racial group in the United States.


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