Accepted Paper:

Towards an anthropology of Bhutan?  


Prarthana Saikia (University of Delhi)

Paper short abstract:

This paper attempts to identify a space for anthropological practice in Bhutan, taking into account the fact that the country does not have university departments or any associations of anthropology.

Paper long abstract:

The absence of University departments or any formal associations in Bhutan do not indicate the absence of the discipline in the soil. Taking clue of the popular cliché that 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence' the paper argues that Bhutan has already offered deep sense of Anthropological insight in terms of the idea of Happiness Index as indicator of the Human Development (by the King) and also the way a small nation has offered best practices to world's largest nations in terms of democracy, peace and participation. It truly represents an actually existing microcosm, an experiment with styles of human existence with possibilities of an imagined macrocosm which the world aspires to be.

Being a goldsmith of Anthropological experimentation which the human kind has developed in its spontaneous living with traditions and future aspirations, the land has witnessed several anthropological engagement in terms of understanding its folk life, stories, tales and narratives from everyday life. However, they have all germinated in a soil outside the Himalayan country. It is argued here that the situation is ripe in nation to take a leap into future of anthropological imagination.

Panel P131
Fifty years of anthropological associations: reflections on anthropologies and nations (IAA/JASCA joint panel)