"Upgrading" Buddhism? Methods from the Business World in South Korean Buddhism

Abstract : Far from being limited to social scientists, the market approach to religions has been widely adopted by religious actors as well, sometimes in a very explicit way. With an ethnographic methodology, this research analyzes how Buddhist organizations in South Korea are implementing business concepts and methods in temples with the aim of increasing their influence in society. It addresses how managerial models and advertising techniques have been appropriated in a religious context and how they interact with redefinitions of Buddhist propagation. This paper argues that the use of communication and management techniques from the business world is not an epiphenomenon. Instead, it echoes a deeper transformation of Buddhism within South Korean society, especially in the role and place of the laity. For the urban temples engaged in ambitious development projects, the use of market related techniques is not merely a way to engage in a market-like competition. It also contributes to redefine their organizational structure as well as their division of religious work, in affinity with a dominant concept of religion.
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Florence Galmiche. "Upgrading" Buddhism? Methods from the Business World in South Korean Buddhism. THE REVIEW OF KOREAN STUDIES, 2015, 18 (2), pp.35-61. ⟨http://www.aks.ac.kr/lab/contentsInfo.do?&menu_no=296⟩. ⟨hal-01374103⟩

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