State, Traditional Civil Society, and Modern Civil Society in Bhutan

In Bhutan, civil society consists of institutions and organizations that have two different characteristics:
1. The traditional self reliant civil society consisting of people in rural communities; and
2. Formal and modernized organizations where activities are regulated by rules and acts.

However, the distinction between them is not always self evident. State institutions and civil society in Bhutan have complementary relationships. Although modern civil society organizations (CSOs) must be approved by, and registered with, the state authority, this does not indicate strong control by the state on CSOs. On the contrary, past Five Year Plans actively involved CSOs in the state development plans.

The aims of this project are to investigate the following:
1. How the state and civil society organizations collaborate;
2. What happens when the scientific knowledge of modern CSOs meets rural knowledge; and 3. How traditional self-reliant civil society is integrated into the modern state institutions.

This project will incorporate case studies of modern CSOs operating in rural areas, as well as modern state institutions.

Project location: Stockholm, Sweden

For more information, please contact:
Michiyo Kiwako Okuma-Nyström