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The Centre of the Centre: The Buddhist Temple and the Chinese New Year in the Prato Urban Space
Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences, University of Perugia
Abstract: This article analyzes some important aspects of the relationships and spatial disputes between the temple of the ‘Associazione Buddista della comunità cinese’ and Prato’s complex context. In the last three decades, the city—with a significantly increased population due to post-World War II internal migration—has been involved in a steady Chinese migration that transformed spatial relationships and ways of living. In this context, the temple association organizes different group activities tied to worship or the needs of the migration condition. During festive events, the temple receives pilgrims from other Italian cities, and with great care hosts the political and religious authorities, emphasizing the quantitative and socio-cultural weight of the Chinese community. The propulsive energy of the temple emerges in observation of events and political dynamics related to the Chinese New Year. When the costume parade—promoted by the Association—crosses between the professional and private lives of Prato’s families, it evokes the symbolic right to use the city’s space throughout the year.
Keywords: Anthropology of Migration, Chinese in Prato, Buddhist Temple, Chinese New Year, Urban Spaces
About the Author: Daniele Parbuono received his Ph.D. in Ethnology and Anthropology at University of Perugia (Italy), where he teaches ‘Museum Anthropology’ and ‘Cultural Anthropology’. He is Full Professor at Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences (China), where he teaches ‘Italian Anthropology and Cultural Heritage’ and ‘Ethnographic methodology’. Together with Liu Zhuang, he directs the ‘China-Europe Cultural Heritage Centre’ at Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences. He is also Special-Term Professor at Sichuan University and a Visiting Professor in some Universities of China, Brazil and France. He is member of SIAC (Italian Society of Cultural Anthropology) executive board; he is also member of ICOM (International Council of Museum) and AISC (Chinese Studies Italian Association). He is member of numerous boards of scientific journals and book series’. His research interests include political, religious and migration anthropology, and linguistics heritage and folkloric phenomena, with particular attention to the processes of cultural ‘patrimonialization’ in Italy and China.
Some of his publications include: Costruzione di patrimoni: Le parole degli oggetti e delle convenzioni (with Francesca Sbardella, 2017), ‘Storie’ e feste: Un’etnografia della comunicazione politica (2013), L’Umbria guarda la Cina (with Ester Bianchi, 2013), Studi di tradizioni popolari: passato e presente (with Giancarlo Baronti, 2012), Folclorismi medievali, rinascimentali e barocchi: Riflessioni antropologiche sulla contemporaneità ‘storica’ (2012), The Saltarello Dance in Central Italy (2012), and Séga seghin’ segamo… Studi e ricerche su ‘Sega la vecchia’ in Umbria (with Giancarlo Baronti and Giancarlo Palombini, 2011).
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.