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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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PART I TASTE AND TYPICALITY: CONSTRUCTION AND INVENTION OF TRADITION PREMIÈRE PARTIE GOÛT ET TYPICITÉ: CONSTRUCTION ET INVENTION DE LA TRADITION 23 Terroir: jalons pour l’histoire d’un mot Madeleine FERRIÈRES UMR TELEMME, CNRS/Université de Provence Un historien n’aborde pas le thème des terroirs sans quelque pru- dence ni sans préventions. N’est-ce pas là – se dit-il spontanément – un domaine réservé aux sciences dures, et hors du territoire de l’historien? Mes préventions allaient jusqu’au préjugé. J’ai longtemps pensé par exemple que les vignobles au Nord de la France ne pouvaient pousser que sur les coteaux, et que les coteaux soient leur terroir d’élection m’apparaissait une chose toute “naturelle”, relevant exclusivement des contraintes du climat et du sol. Et puis j’ai lu Roger Dion, j’ai appris qu’un vaste vignoble couvrait une large part des plaines du bassin parisien, produisant du “vin de France”, puis que les surfaces consacrées à la vigne n’ont cessé de diminuer sous la pression d’“influences” bien peu naturelles: Si certaines formations géologiques, principalement dans les provinces septentrionales de la France viticole, exercent sur le vignoble une attraction manifeste, ce n’est pas en lui fournissant telles ou telles substances utiles à sa croissance ou à la fructification du ceps: c’est en défavorisant la culture du blé, qui est concurrente de celle de la vigne. La viticulture commerciale de la vigne dans le bassin de la Seine, au fur et à mesure qu’on s’approche de la limite Nord, se cantonne de...

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