Qigong and Healing Communities in Contemporary Shanghai: Techniques of the Body, State Institutions and Transnational Flows
Marceau Chenault (Lecturer, College of Physical Education and Health, East China Normal University)
January 20, 2015
Room 201, 2/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong
Fifteen years after the 1999’s Falun Gong crisis, Qigong seems rare in the public space of China. As an example, Qigong groups are indeed a minority in Shanghai parks where we mostly find people practicing dance or Taijiquan. However, in the beginning of the 21st century, we see a gradual international development of the practices thanks to the new training and teaching materials published by the National Chinese Association for Health Qigong. In this phase of globalisation, the political control of Chinese body techniques transmission is clustered in institutional and historical places: the Sport departments of Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan Universities; the Medical Institutes in Beijing and Shanghai; sacred mountains like the Taoist Wudang Shan, etc. But the spread of Qigong is also stimulated by and in competition with new wellness or spiritual centers. The first Shanghai “Healing Arts Festival” held in October 2014 was representing the most attractive mind-body techniques of the city: Yoga, Vipassana Meditation, Reiki, spiritual chanting, Taijiquan, etc. Intercultural exchange and training are a modern way of development for Qigong experts such as the doctors of the Shanghai Qigong Research Institute, to compose with the global growth of healing communities.
Marceau Chenault is Lecturer and Researcher at the College of Physical Education and Health of East China Normal University, and in charge of international education at Shanghai Qigong Research Institute. After 15 years of teaching experience with different disciplines (Judo, Qigong, Dance), his teaching research focuses on transdisciplinary approach of mind-body education. He develops an anthropology of body-mind techniques about issues related to the globalisation of Asian traditional exercises (qigong, taijiquan, meditation, yoga, martial arts, dance), based on his ethnographic observation of Shanghai park activities, wellness and spiritual centers, medical institutes, sport colleges and artists performers. Marceau got his Ph.D. in STAPS from Orléans University in France and has recently led the dossier Présences au corps in the journal Corps (Quelle conscience de son corps? , CNRS, n°11, 2013).
This is an event organized by the “Rethinking Spirituality and Religion in Asia” Cluster.