Qigong in Three Social Worlds: National Treasure, Social Signifier, or Breathing Exercise?

Part of the Health, Technology and Society book series (HTE)


Chinese qigong practices provide an interesting case in point of the varying and often incommensurate production of alternative health modalities in the social worlds of practitioners, scholars, and medical scientists. Drawing on publications from each social world, this chapter argues that the term qigong, rather than referring to a set of internally consistent Chinese ‘meditation’ or ‘breathing exercises’, may be more usefully understood as a catch-all term which belies the cultural-nationalist production of such practices during the Chinese qigong movement, emphasises their social and political significance at the expense of their practical value—in particular with regard to the vitalistic notion of qi—and disregards the methodological issues pertaining to studying a perplexing diversity of practice styles, schools, and traditions.


Chinese Qigong Qigong Practice Baduanjin Qigong Therapy External Qigong 
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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hong Kong Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hong Kong UniversityHong Kong SARPeople’s Republic of China

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