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Typicality in History / La typicité dans l’histoire

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


Edited By Giovanni Ceccarelli, Alberto Grandi and Stefano Magagnoli

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.


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The inspiration for this book was drawn from the papers presented at the international conference La tipicità nella storia: tradizione, innovazione, territorio (held in Parma and Langhirano in September 2010). Besides those who appear in this book, the editors are grateful to all those who contributed in making it a culturally dense and successful encounter; they wish in particular to mention Maria Emanovskaya, Agnese Portincasa, Rengenier Rittersma, and Sydney Watts – for the papers they presented –, and Salvatore Ciriacono, Nadège Sougy, and Fabio Sforzi – for their active role as discussants. The conference would not have been possible without the support of a number of persons and institutions: Università degli Studi di Parma and its Magnifico Rettore, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Parma, Provincia di Parma, Dipartimento di economia dell’Università di Parma, Academia Barilla, Camera di Commercio di Parma, Accademia Italiana della Cucina, Consorzio del Parmigiano-Reggiano, Fiere di Parma, Comune di Langhirano, Festival del Prosciutto di Parma, Musei del Cibo di Parma, Comune di Parma, and Regione Emilia- Romagna. Thanks to Stefania Portioli for the assistance in organizing the conference, to Anna Pacchi for helping with the graphic design, and to the administrative staff of the Dipartimento di Economia of Parma: Antonella De Falco, Pierluigi Maestri, Anna Magnani, Luisella Notari, Giovanna Oppimitti, Raffaella Rebecchi, and Cinzia Ugolotti. The editors are grateful to Lois Clegg and Catriona Grant for the aid provided in the copyediting, and also to Antonella Campanini, Peter Scholiers, and Jean-Pierre Williot for the remarks made to the first...

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