Maoism: More than Quasi-Religion

Portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen Gate

In his 1974 essay, ""One of the Many Faces of China: Maoism as a Quasi-Religion," Joseph M. Kitagawa acknowledges Chairman Mao’s movement to create a new culture as “Maoism.” Instead of calling this movement a “religion,” he refers to Maoism as a “quasi-religion.” In doing so, he attempts to avoid the clashing reactions that often comes along with referring to a movement as a religion. Yet, viewing the development of Maoism in terms of the sociology of religion can help us understand the way it has mapped the culture, ethnicity, and gender of today’s China.