This article focuses on the construction of heritage in rural Portugal. Drawing on anthropological fieldwork in the village of Castelo Rodrigo, it analyses the extensive protection and exhibition of domestic architecture in the framework of a State-led local development programme. By bringing in the messiness of daily practices, the article goes beyond neat theoretical formulations in the study of heritage such as Foucault’s theory of “governmentality” and Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s notion
of “second life as heritage”. It argues that the “conduct of conduct” is actually nowhere near as effective as its theoretical formulation might have us believe, and the second life as heritage suffocates
the first life of houses as social habitats for the village population.