Advanced

The Monarch's Gift: critical notes on the Bhutanese constitutional process

Bothe, Winnie LU (2012) In European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 40(Spring-Summer 2012). p.27-59
Abstract
In 2001 the Bhutanese State took an important step in its process of state formation, as the country embarked on a journey that would turn it into a constitutional monarchy in 2008. This process is typically described by academics and the international media as one in which the King gave the constitution as a ‘gift’ to the people. However, there are some puzzling issues connected to this representation. It is widely argued that the new constitution was a gift which the people of Bhutan did not want. Moreover, the King himself did not view it as a gift as such. The idea of the constitution as a ‘gift’ therefore needs to be deconstructed. In so doing, this article analyses how the idea of the constitution being a gift relates to its birth... (More)
In 2001 the Bhutanese State took an important step in its process of state formation, as the country embarked on a journey that would turn it into a constitutional monarchy in 2008. This process is typically described by academics and the international media as one in which the King gave the constitution as a ‘gift’ to the people. However, there are some puzzling issues connected to this representation. It is widely argued that the new constitution was a gift which the people of Bhutan did not want. Moreover, the King himself did not view it as a gift as such. The idea of the constitution as a ‘gift’ therefore needs to be deconstructed. In so doing, this article analyses how the idea of the constitution being a gift relates to its birth process, and which strategic purposes this discourse serves. It shows how this idea serves to reproduce former discourses on authority, whilst relegating the citizens to the role of subjects. The article is a novel contribution to the debate on Bhutan’s transition. It views this historic moment in the process of Bhutanese state formation as a highly symbolic event and examines it against the background of detailed ethnographic material. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Democracy, Monarchy, Citizenship, Constitution, Bhutan
in
European Bulletin of Himalayan Research
volume
40
issue
Spring-Summer 2012
pages
27 - 59
publisher
London: SOAS and Kathmandu: Social Science Baha
ISSN
0943-8254
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8e9889b4-45c7-4bb4-a605-df2b8fd9d168 (old id 3631342)
date added to LUP
2013-04-08 11:46:48
date last changed
2016-04-15 21:28:26
@article{8e9889b4-45c7-4bb4-a605-df2b8fd9d168,
  abstract     = {In 2001 the Bhutanese State took an important step in its process of state formation, as the country embarked on a journey that would turn it into a constitutional monarchy in 2008. This process is typically described by academics and the international media as one in which the King gave the constitution as a ‘gift’ to the people. However, there are some puzzling issues connected to this representation. It is widely argued that the new constitution was a gift which the people of Bhutan did not want. Moreover, the King himself did not view it as a gift as such. The idea of the constitution as a ‘gift’ therefore needs to be deconstructed. In so doing, this article analyses how the idea of the constitution being a gift relates to its birth process, and which strategic purposes this discourse serves. It shows how this idea serves to reproduce former discourses on authority, whilst relegating the citizens to the role of subjects. The article is a novel contribution to the debate on Bhutan’s transition. It views this historic moment in the process of Bhutanese state formation as a highly symbolic event and examines it against the background of detailed ethnographic material.},
  author       = {Bothe, Winnie},
  issn         = {0943-8254},
  keyword      = {Democracy,Monarchy,Citizenship,Constitution,Bhutan},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {Spring-Summer 2012},
  pages        = {27--59},
  publisher    = {London: SOAS and Kathmandu: Social Science Baha},
  series       = {European Bulletin of Himalayan Research},
  title        = {The Monarch's Gift: critical notes on the Bhutanese constitutional process},
  volume       = {40},
  year         = {2012},
}