CHEESE, COMMONS AND COMMERCE

Abstract

The protection of regional specialties by the EU-instrument of geographical indications fundamentally changes the status of food; formerly common products become newly appropriated ones. The processes of selecting specialties, and declaring them to be a kind of culinary heritage, shed light on the interplay between legal, political, and economic interests: the transformation of (assumed to be) commonly shared goods and knowledge into legal collective properties evokes state interest and creates new power relations. Two German cheeses, Odenwälder Frühstückskäse and Allgäuer Emmentaler, both labeled with the “protected designation of origin,” provide a framework for examining these processes of propertization and commercialization. In these examples it turns out that establishing, valorizing, regulating and commercializing regional food is based on cultural arguments.

Keywords

culinary heritage, commons, geographical indications, commercialization, propertization

How to Cite

May, S., (2013) “CHEESE, COMMONS AND COMMERCE”, Ethnologia Europaea 43(2), p.62-77. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1116

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  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.

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Sarah May (University of Tübingen)

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