Security and heritage: alignments and interactions of two global leitmotivs

Principal researcher: Vera Lazzaretti

Research group: Circulation and Place-Making


Heritage | Security | Urban imagining | Everyday life

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)



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‘Security’ and ‘heritage’ constitute prominent but distinct research topics in anthropology. Scholars have demonstrated that security and heritage respectively are produced by historical, social and political contexts and forces. At the same time, both are individually productive of new socio-spatial formations, inasmuch as they both transform places and ways in which people relate to them. Their realms are deeply affective. Yet questions about the similar functioning of these two phenomena, and ways in which they may be co-produced and co-productive, remain to date almost unexplored. This project aims to unpack and theorise for the first time heritage and security as interconnected imaginaries and cross-fertilising processes that affect the everyday life of cities and citizens. It begins by undertaking an intensive anthropological analysis of a specific urban setting in north India—the historic centre of Varanasi/Banaras—where matters of security and heritage are pervasive. However, the wider aim of the project is to open up a new avenue of research and foster broader comparisons with other urban settings in South Asia and beyond.