Typicality in History / La typicité dans l’histoire

Tradition, Innovation, and Terroir / Tradition, innovation et terroir

by Giovanni Ceccarelli (Volume editor) Alberto Grandi (Volume editor) Stefano Magagnoli (Volume editor)
©2013 Conference proceedings 476 Pages


Typical food is an in-vogue topic, embodying issues such as current trends in food globalization and European Union policies on agriculture and trade. It is, however, striking how little is known about its history. This book, inspired by the conference La tipicità nella storia: tradizione, innovazione, territorio, held in Parma and Langhirano in 2010, is an attempt to fill this gap. It includes essays by historians, sociologists, economists and experts in the food industry, who cover a wide range of products (wine, cheese, chocolate, cider), across a broad geographic scope (from France to Costa Rica and Norway) and time frame (from the Middle Ages to the present day). Besides the crucial issue of when and why the link between food and place of origin emerged, the contributors look at interactions between physical terroir and human savoir-faire and also between industrial innovation and traditional skills. Typicality is usually considered as a bottom-up process but the role of institutional protection is also examined. Designation of origin can be seen as a qualitative safeguard for food production, yet its influence on consumers’ choices is emphasized as well. In its approach, this multi-faceted book questions the oversimplified idea of typicality arising from a vaguely defined traditional food heritage. In 2010, the editors of this book founded the Food Lab, a research laboratory on food history based in the Department of Economics at the University of Parma.
This book contains articles in English and French.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2013 (October)
food globalization agriculture trade
Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2013. 476 pp., 12 ill., 33 tables

Biographical notes

Giovanni Ceccarelli (Volume editor) Alberto Grandi (Volume editor) Stefano Magagnoli (Volume editor)

Giovanni Ceccarelli teaches the history of globalization at the University of Parma. He has combined his research interests in late medieval trade and food history, and focuses in particular on the use of a product’s origins as a marketing technique in early modern Europe. Alberto Grandi is Associate Professor of Economic History at the University of Parma. He has previously worked on guilds in early modern Europe and regional development in twentieth-century Italy. These two lines of research have found a synthesis in food history, with specific reference to the emergence of typical products and designations of origin. Stefano Magagnoli teaches the history of European integration at the University of Parma. His research concerns the interaction between institutions and economic growth during the twentieth century. In particular, he is interested in how food traditions have been reinvented and used to support local development.


Title: Typicality in History / La typicité dans l’histoire