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Geographical Indications as Transformation Triggers of Global Agri-Food Systems

Track Coordinators: Katia L. Sidali (University of Göttingen) 

Geographical Indications (GIs) can be considered quality labels since they signal a close link between geographically and traditionally identified origin (terroir) and specific product characteristics (quality, production method, reputation, product particularities etc.). Hence, GIs can also be considered distinctive labels because they permit a differentiation of protected products from products in other regions or countries. In addition, GIs provide a high level of protection against imitation. The European Union has three instruments to protect traditional food: Protected Designations of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) and Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG) (see European Regulations 2081/1992, 1107/1996, 510/2006, 509/2006, 628/2008, 110/2008, 1151/2012).

However, the legitimacy of GIs remains questionable. From the perspective of many economists, the protection against fraud and imitation that it aims to provide is also possible through individual trademark law (Bramley & Kirsten 2007).Also, the long history of research on culinary systems cannot be denied in the fields of cultural studies and European ethnology and includes the study of GIs in questions related to the transformation of food traditions, individual dishes or cuisines and cultural property (Salomonsson 2002). In the contexts of trade growth in higher-valued foods, of food folklorism and gastro-nationalism (DeSoucey 2010), and of rural and regional development, it is expected that the observed development of GIs is likely to continue. Against this background, the implications are far-reaching but not yet well understood. What are the economic effects of GI protection for firms, local supply chains and rural areas? What socio-cultural phenomena (e.g. exclusion processes and conflicts) can be detected before and after the approval of a GI? What are the outcomes for preservation of traditional knowledge, social cohesion and spillover effects in countries with high indigenous richness? These are some of the overarching research questions to be addressed by this track. The research results will contribute to advancing the academic knowledge base in this important field and guide public and private sector policymakers at various levels.



Bramley, C.; Kirsten, J.F. (2007): Exploring the Economic Rationale for Protecting Geographical Indicators in agriculture. Im Internet http://purl.umn.edu/10128.

DeSoucey, M. (2010). Gastronationalism: Food Traditions and Authenticity Politics in the European Union. American Sociological Review 75(3), 432–455

Salomonsson, K. (2002): The E-conomy and the Culinary Heritage, in: Ethnologia Europaea 32, 2002, 125-145.

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