: Bhutan’s Changing Landscape of Food Sharing: what persists and resisted within the nation’s modernizing efforts

Authors: Mai Kobayashi*, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
Topics: Social Geography
Keywords: Bhutan, Food Sovereignty, Sharing, Modernization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bacchus, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Bhutan has been looked up to in recent years, among other things, as a “lighthouse” in the world of environmental conservation and post-growth paradigm, most notably through its GNH paradigm and policies to promote carbon neutral development. As such, Bhutan’s progress and success has become an issue of global discussion. Despite the attention, little is understood about the transition taking place on the ground. A contextual analysis is necessary to understand the impacts of such state-level efforts that are taking place, in parallel, in the name of “modernization.” This paper looks at the geo-political and historical context within which such national efforts are being made, and re-evaluate how peasants are adjusting and resisting such top-down initiatives through their sharing of foods and other agricultural products. Particular emphasis will be placed on the relationship Bhutan has had with Japan in its effort towards agricultural modernization. Research is based on a continuing study in Bhutan, based on household surveys and personal interviews that have been conducted in western Bhutan since January 2014.

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