[ABSTRACT] The Impact of Development in Bhutan on Family, Identity and Everyday Life of Nomadic Yak Herders of Merak

[Presented at the 3rd International Seminar on Population & Development.]

This project explores how capitalist development as well as Gross National Happiness family and identity of nomadic yak herders from Merak. In this project, I focus my inquiry on three generations within one family, analyzing the changing structure of the family, relationships between each generation, and different identities of each genera- tion formed by, among other things, their different experiences with modernization and development. Development impacts the quality of everyday life of the individual in Bhutan. Research has been conducted through participant observation and open-ended interviews with people in each generation. This research will add to our understanding modern development affects family, identity, culture, everyday life, and relationships between generations in semi-nomadic yak herders from Merak. The forest industry and pastureland laws are impacting the ability viability of herders’ to sustain herding as their livelihood. Education is another area of development, which is impacting the chil- dren of families and creating new relationships, responsibilities, and imaginaries for the herders’ future livelihood. Roads and technology are other avenues of development, which are impacting economic, familial, social, and political changes. This research was conducted while living with a family from Merak in the jungle above Khaling. Thimphu and villagers in Challing and near Kanglung were also interviewed. I draw on Gramsci and hegemony as a methodology to analyze development in Bhutan and its affect on the everyday life of the nomadic herders from Merak.

[Bhutan conference Final Schedule & Abstracts]