Tradition, Development, and Change in Bhutan

Sarah Collins


In the fifty years since the concept of planned development was introduced, Bhutan has gone through a period of rapid modernization. Today’s Bhutanese youth have very different life experiences than their parents or grandparents when they grew up, yet they live in a society that is still strongly influenced by Buddhist and traditional beliefs. In order to explore how modernization has affected attitudes toward Buddhism, education, family roles, women’s roles, and the importance of community in Bhutan, a total of nine in-depth qualitative interviews with daughters, mothers and grandmothers from three different families in Thimphu and Paro were conducted in the fall of 2010, some with the use of a Dzongkha interpreter. Differences among the generations were found in attitudes toward education, household tasks, religious practices, family, community ties and gender roles.


Bhutan; Women; Development

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