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Transcultural encounters: A case study of Fengshui practitioners in Vancouver

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Author: Li, Stephen
The domination of several centuries of Western-scientific knowledge system has led critical scholars such as Boaventura de Sousa Santos to write about the possibility of a monocultural world where alternative knowledge systems would be seen as “non-existent.” This paper evaluates the adequacy of Santos’ sociology of absences in relation to the existence of the traditional knowledge system of Fengshui in Vancouver. By interviewing five Fengshui practitioners and tracing Fengshui from a rapidly modernizing China to Vancouver’s real-estate market in the era of neoliberal globalization, this paper assesses Fengshui’s migration in Vancouver as part and parcel of the movement of elite migrants. In doing so, this paper highlights the importance of intersectional analysis and underscores a limitation in de Sousa Santos’ framework by recognizing that certain traditional knowledge systems could be appropriated and incorporated by transnational capitalists’ economic interests and cultural sensibilities.
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