A Bureaucracy of Care in Managing Hampi World Heritage Site

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Journal of Social Archaeology (2019)




Bureaucracy, care, conservation, everyday state, Hampi World Heritage Site, Heritage ethnography, site management


<p>In this paper I examine the ‘heritage regime’ instituted at Hampi, Karnataka, India, consequent to its inscription as World Heritage, by analysing everyday material practices of conservation-management at the site through the lens of ‘care’. I argue that the regime is undoubtedly a bureaucracy as popularly imagined – but of care premised on knowledge and not of apathy. I suggest that various ongoing contestations amongst social actors are over the appropriateness of care, based on a particular visual aesthetic, which results in spatio-temporal material alienation of resident communities. Confusing consequence for cause, practice seeks to ‘engage’ with people whose alienation from ‘official’ heritage they are party to inevitably leads to everyday ‘heartbreak’ for experts, disillusionment among residents, and a conflicted position for local heritage agencies, albeit unintentionally.</p>