Despite the general perception that Daoism is simply an informal and carefree philosophical perspective, the Daoist tradition is a highly formalized spectrum of ritual practices and communal beliefs. Religious Daoism emerged within the rich second-century political and social milieu when challengers to official rulership offered alternative political structures to the imperial order. The establishment of the Celestial Master theocracy in Northwest China provided a structured system that emphasized the apocalyptic urgency of social reform. The new community was shaped by rigid codes of conduct and supported by religious professionals who mediated the bureaucratic relationship with a pantheon of gods.
Dr. Kleeman discusses his recent book in a podcast that can be found here