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Merchants and missionaries: Chinese evangelical networks and the transnational resacralization of European urban spaces

Global Networks

Published online on


["Global Networks, EarlyView. ", "\nAbstract\nThis article sheds new light on the diverse modes in which migration and religion intersect in shaping everyday transnational practices by exploring the articulations of religion and business migration in an emerging Chinese‐led transnational mission field. Drawing on multisited ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Wenzhou, Rome and Paris, I show how a large group of transnational Chinese merchants has adopted a vigorous homegrown evangelical Christianity as the spiritual and social anchor of their territorial mercantile culture in diaspora. These merchants have actively engaged in producing religious activities and events that link China to Europe and in resacralizing secular real estate and attaching evangelistic meanings to Europe's historic urban spaces. For rural‐originated migrants who embrace a global hierarchy of places, the evangelical discursive distinction between the mundane and the transcendent spheres finds expression in their perceived opposition between the peripheral local and the modern global centre in the global market economy.\n"]