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In a modern international context, the Western category of Daoism (also spelled Taoism) may refer to two distinct religious and cultural phenomena: (1) an indigenous Chinese religious tradition that is intricately connected with traditional Chinese culture and is now present throughout the modern world and (2) a new religious movement (NRM) with only loose connections with the earlier Chinese religious tradition. Historically speaking, and beyond dominant Western constructs, only the former is Daoism per se. Nonetheless, both movements are diverse, and both continue to undergo complex transformations within contexts of globalization, multiculturalism, and religious pluralism.

In the West, the matter is complicated by a number of other factors, including Orientalist and popular misrepresentations of the Chinese religious tradition, the complex history of American forms of alternative ...

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