Reconstruction of heritage in Bhaktapur, Nepal: examining tensions and negotiations between the "local" and the "global"



Arora V (2022) Reconstruction of heritage in Bhaktapur, Nepal: examining tensions and negotiations between the "local" and the "global". Disaster Prevention and Managemen, 31 (1), pp. 41-50.

Purpose Cultural heritage, specifically built heritage – including monuments, urban ensembles, religious and palatial complexes – has emerged as a central focus of tensions and negotiations within the post-disaster recovery landscape in Nepal following the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake. This not only reflects a growing recognition of heritage within international disaster risk management frameworks, but also responds to the critical role played by heritage at national, regional and local levels. The paper aims to examine the entangled realities of “local” and “global” operating in ongoing reconstruction of built heritage in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Design/methodology/approach The paper is an account of reconstruction practices observed in Bhaktapur between 2018 and 2020. It is based on data collected by layering ethnographic methods with textual and historical analysis. In seeking to analyse manifestations of global and local, the author presents reflections from fieldwork carried over seven months in Bhaktapur and describes the micro-politics enacted out between researcher, heritage custodians, translators, intermediaries and participants. Findings Reconstruction of built heritage in Bhaktapur negotiates between developmentalist-paradigms of post-disaster recovery, heritage conservation discourses as well as religious and quotidian practices of care. It is simultaneously informed by global institutions and policy and local politics and aspirations that operate in constant tension and negotiation. Originality/value The current study responds to the call for reframing research agendas and practices set out in the Disaster Studies Manifesto by critically engaging with ideas of local and global. The study builds on the growing body of research linking heritage with disaster risk management.

reconstruction; global; local; heritage; Bhaktapur; research methods

Disaster Prevention and Managemen: Volume 31, Issue 1

FundersAustralian Research Council
Publication date22/04/2022
Publication date online30/11/2021
Date accepted by journal30/11/2021

People (1)


Dr Vanicka Arora

Dr Vanicka Arora

Lecturer in Heritage, History