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Social Mobilization and the Formation of the Local Identity: The Sacrifice Rituals of the Temple of City God in Hsinchu of Taiwan in the Late Qing Dynasty

Hsin-yi LIN (Taiwan Normal University)
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The Temple of City God in Hsinchu, famous for its annual rituals for ghost festival, since the 1850s experienced a transition from an official temple to a popular temple. The historical change in its rituals reflects active participation from the local people and gentry families in the context of the growth of the local economy, a rise of regional militarization, and a resulting phenomenon of social mobilization. Yet, the development did not occur with a gradual departure from state authority. Quite the contrary, the local elite continued to utilize the orthodoxy and official control that the City God could exert from old times to promote the City God as a symbol of Hsinchu to this date. The gradual marginalization of Hsinchu in its dwindling of the administrative sphere, and its decreasing political and economic significance overshadowed by Taipei in the last decades of the nineteenth century, led to the growth of a local identity exclusively to people of Hsinchu.

Journal of History and Anthropology