Translating Chinese Traditional Culture into institutional Sport: An ethnographic study of taijiquan in China



This article presents three different sites of taijiquan practice in the People’s Republic of China, where this traditional practice is organized by state institutions. This introduces new representations and norms related to modern ideas of sport as well as of national culture. By observing taijiquan practices in institutionally diverse settings, this paper explores the dynamic process by which Chinese state institutions and practitioners articulate specific understandings of traditional culture with a certain idea of national governance and the modernization of society. While institutions rely on taijiquan body technics and theoretical elements to promote an orthodox traditional cultural landscape, practitioners also actively articulate traditional values and modes of socialization when taking part in institutional activities. Throughout the discussion of the three ethnographic case studies, this paper reflects on the ways that the broad idea of Traditional Culture is accommodated by various social actors in today’s People Republic of China.


Chinese martial artsTaijiquanSportPeople’s Republic of ChinaTraditional cultureState policy
  • Volume: 12
  • Page/Article: 33-46
  • DOI: 10.18573/mas.155
  • Published on 13 Jun 2022