October 21, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 350 Pages - 11 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9780367348342 - CAT# 323369
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This book studies how a modern monarchy transformed Bhutan into a parliamentary democracy. A political ethnography, it focuses on the historic elections of 2007-2008, and studies democracy and its transformational processes from the ground-up. It draws on historical as well as contemporary theories about kingship and regime change to analyse Bhutan’s nascent democratic process and reflect on the direction of political change, both at the state and local levels in the aftermath of the elections. It also presents insights into the electoral and political process by giving a firsthand account of the author’s own participation in the elections and ponders on the larger political implications of this election for the region.
A strong theoretical discussion situated in robust fieldwork and personal experience, this book will be an essential read for scholars and researchers of politics, especially comparative politics and political institutions, South Asian and Himalayan Studies, political sociology and social anthropology.
Introduction: Revisiting Theories 0f Kingship and Democratic Transition 1. The Constitution: Royal Gift or Public Responsibility? Setting the Discourse for Democracy 2. Election Commission and Electoral Laws: Oscillating between "Rational" and "Magical" Modes 3. Mock Elections: The Practice of an Idea 4. National Council Elections: A National Idiom for Conducting Local Arguments 5. Assembly Elections as Moral Battle: Moralizing of Politics 6. Electoral Costs and Losses: Miscalculation, Misinformation and Misunderstanding 7. Powerless Government? Contesting Royal Prerogatives and Projects 8. Convention of 19 July ’13: Manifesting Affective Polarisation 9. The Monarch above Politics: Kingship and Democratic Consolidation 10. Conclusion: Disjunction, Continuity and Transformation
"It is an excellent book! Interesting, informative and well-written! The combination of political theory and ethnographic methodology worked well. And of course the whole thing is enriched and enlivened by personal role in the events discussed. I am sure it will have a great impact in Bhutan and far beyond."—Sherry Ortner, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, USA