Winnie Bothe lectured on successful Fika Without Borders event

winnie2016The South Asian Student Association (SASA) in collaboration with SASNET organised its first Fika Without borders lecture of 2016 on Thursday 21 January, 17–19. As usual in the basement floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund. Dr. Winnie Bothe from the Department of Political Science at Lund University gave an initiated presentation of the democratization process in Bhutan. A record crowd of students turned up for the event, not the least to try the delicious Bhutanese food prepared by the SASA committee. See the poster.

In her talk, Winnie explained the problems facing a country that is often called the world’s youngest democracy. The notion of democracy raises deeper questions of what a ‘democracy’ entails. It is not simply a reified set of institutions. It is as much about how we imagine these institutions. Drawing legitimacy from European constitutional tradition, the Bhutanese constitution is imagined as a system where the monarch is the guardian of sovereignty. In practice democracy has entered Bhutan, but it mainly engages the interests of the educated elite, whilst the rural citizens are still viewed as too immature to take responsibility for the constitutional rights they are given. In the image of the monarchy, they are engaged in a theatre of displaying respect for their superiors in the state. As such they still fulfil the role as subjects of the King and of those who govern in his name.

The Fika without borders South Asia events consist of a series of eight lectures per year with one of the South Asian countries in focus each time. The events draw a mixed crowd of Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Srilankan, Afghani, Maldivian and other international Lund University students and researchers, and each time a number of students and researchers from the country in focus are invited to share their knowledge and experience of their country in an informal way.

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