The role of the clergy at the Vietnamese Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles as culture brokers in Vietnamese refugee resettlement

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1980

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Abstract

The role of the clergy of the Vietnamese Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles in the resettlement of 700 Vietnamese Buddhist refugees is the focus of the study. The culture broker concept is employed in the investigation of the mediative function of Buddhist institutions, Buddhist actors, and Buddhist ideas in the adaptive process. Informal and formal interviews with Vietnamese and Western Buddhist clergy, principally, five key monk informants provide the bulk of material for the background and discussion. Key informants associated with the Temple were selected for interviews. In support of the adaptive and self-preserving features of the broker role, the data show that the monk-sponsors are effective culture brokers functioning both as agents of change and preservers of tradition. The research leads to the conclusion that in the performance of newly acquired mediation and secular roles that facilitate adaption, the Buddhist clergy maintains its sacred institutions, traditions, ideas, and roles.

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Keywords

Vietnamese, Vietnam War, 1961-1975, Refugees, United States, Vietnam

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