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Horizontes Antropológicos

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BINGZHONG, Gao. Understanding the revival and survival of grass-roots associations in China: the perspective of four categories of legitimacy. Horiz.antropol. [online]. 2007, vol.3Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 0104-7183.

Chinese grass-roots social groups have had a complicated relation with the social order during the past thirty years. This paper aims at using a series of practical concepts about legitimacy, from Weber and Habermas, to analyze the revival and present functioning of these groups, especially associations based on folk religion. As I see it, the fact that social groups are able to exist "normally" and to operate, even though they are not in conformity with the law, should be understood with the help of three categories: political legitimacy, administrative legitimacy and social legitimacy. At the end of the paper, I discuss the promulgation of the "Regulations for the Administration of Social Associations" which sets legal legitimacy as a core process integrating the three other kinds of legitimacy, and I examine the effort of government to require all social groups to possess full legitimacy.

Keywords : Chinese society; folk religion; grass-roots associations; legitimacy.

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