Using a cultural-historical approach to promote Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Bhutan: prospects for research and practice

Royal University of Bhutan
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Journal Article
Bhutan Journal of Research and Development, 2016, 5 (1), pp. 51 - 61
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This paper discusses how cultural-historical theory can be used to promote GNH in Bhutan. Cultural- historical approaches stem from the work of Lev Vygotsky into early childhood development. Although GNH and cultural-historical theory have different historical origins, there are valuable points of intersection that point to useful areas of research and highlight relevant issues in development practice. Key to this are Vygotskian ideas that learning and development arise through dialectic interactions between individuals and society, people and practice. The framework of GNH can be understood as a cultural tool that enables people to work on problems and issues that are important to Bhutan. From a Vygotskian point of view, when GNH mediates people’s activity, it also has an effect back on those people, thus addressing the individual and collective dimensions simultaneously.
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