Customary law and modern society: Land disputes of Jisigongye (祭祀公業, ancestral worship property) in Taiwan

Duan Lin, Po Fang Tsai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Ancestral worship property in contemporary Taiwan What we call Jisigongye (ancestral worship property) is mainly a Han Chinese tradition originating during the Song Dynasty (960–1279). It has a fairly simple nature. Some clan or lineage groups keep pieces of land for ancestral worship. This type of land is treated as inalienable familial property that is inherited by only male descendants. For the family, it is a gathering place to worship their common ancestry. Since the seventeenth century, about 11,994 ancestral worship properties have been established in Han Chinese society in contemporary Taiwan. In this chapter, we investigate land disputes concerning ancestral worship property. We approach the topic by identifying the epistemic communities that have coalesced around the state and non-state groups that are competing to control ancestral worship property. But first we provide a short introduction to the problems surrounding ancestral worship property and focus on the impact of the Ancestral Worship Property Ordinance 2007. Then, we discuss our “method and data,” before considering the concrete analysis. Next we analyze cases studies and develop a tentative typology of cases. We then examine the strategies of different actors involved in the land disputes and finally present some conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResolving Land Disputes in East Asia: Exploring the Limits of Law
Subtitle of host publicationExploring the Limits of Law
EditorsHualing Fu, John Gillespie
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781107589193
ISBN (Print)9781107066823
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Customary law and modern society: Land disputes of Jisigongye (祭祀公業, ancestral worship property) in Taiwan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this