Institute of Historical and Cultural Anthropology

Geographical Indications. Culinary Heritage as Cultural Property

Funding Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
PI Prof. Dr. Bernhard Tschofen
Research associate Sarah May, M.A.

2011 - 2014

When foods indicate their geographical origin in their name or on their label, they are referring to special characteristics given by climate, soil conditions or production methods. In this way, they communicate quality and exclusivity. EU certification processes declare things and knowledge to be traditional and regionally specific so that they can be presented as "heritage" and protected as property.

In an integrated cultural-scientific-economic analysis, the processes of justification and legitimation within the EU system of protection of origin are reconstructed comparatively for Germany and Italy. On the basis of a dynamic understanding of geographical indications, the room for manoeuvre and symbolic limitations of applicants in the field of cheese specialities are examined. The focus is on the traditional - or newly created - linguistic and visual systems of legitimation and their economic and cultural significance.

The research project is part of the interdisciplinary DFG research group "The Constitution of Cultural Property | Actors, Discourses, Contexts, Rules". Under the supervision of Professor Dr. Bernhard Tschofen and Professor Dr. Achim Spiller (University of Göttingen), Sarah May M.A. and Dr. Katia L. Sidali are investigating actors and systems of representation in the environment of four cheese specialities in Italy and Germany (Odenwälder Frühstückskäse and Allgäuer Emmentaler, Asiago und Parmigiano Reggiano), which are protected by EU designations of origin.

Conference "Taste - Power - Tradition: Geographical Indications as Cultural Assets" - 16.05.2013 - 17.05.2013
As part of the joint research project "Geographical Indications: Culinary Heritage as Cultural Property" in the interdisciplinary DFG Research Group 772 on Cultural Property, the LUI, together with the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Göttingen, is organising a workshop on the links between regional specialities, local traditions and European protection of origin. Governance structures of international protection systems and the effects of EU protection will be discussed from (agricultural) economic, cultural and legal perspectives. The implementation of transnational regimes as well as the modes of implementation and scope of action of local actors will be described and theorised on the basis of mainly empirical studies.