Cultural Commons

Cultural Commons

A New Perspective on the Production and Evolution of Cultures

Edited by Enrico Bertacchini, Giangiacomo Bravo, Massimo Marrelli and Walter Santagata

This compelling book offers a fresh and novel approach to study cultural and artistic expression from the perspective of ‘the commons’. It demonstrates how identifying cultures as shared resources is useful in eliciting the main factors and social dilemmas affecting the production and evolution of cultural expression.

Chapter 7: Food, Gastronomy and Cultural Commons

Christian Barrère, Quentin Bonnard and Véronique Chossat

Subjects: economics and finance, cultural economics


Christian Barrère, Quentin Bonnard and Véronique Chossat 1 INTRODUCTION In the 1970s Paul Bocuse, the famous French chef, created V.G.E. truffle soup, a luxury dish dedicated to the President of France at the time, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, and named after his initials. It made the headlines of many newspapers and, a few months later, several restaurants, “copying” Bocuse’s creation, put V.G.E. soup, a truffle soup or a President soup on their menu. In 2011, although French cuisine is often considered as the best in the world, The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards1 gave a ranking of the best chefs, putting nine chefs from Denmark, Spain, Italy, Brazil and England before the first French one, Inaki Aizpitarte. At the same time, UNESCO featured a “gastronomic meal of the French” on its list of the world’s intangible heritage while some gastronomic experts published books and papers dealing with the decline or even the death of French cuisine. Gastronomy and recipes are, at least in part, shared resources and collective creations, which have been passed on over time. The problems noted above are linked to the publicness of gastronomic resources. The aim of this chapter is to show that a cultural commons framework (see ch. 1 in this volume) is a powerful means of understanding the working and the dynamics of culinary cultures. First, in Section 2, we examine the definition of culinary commons and heritage. In Section 3, we present their characteristics. In Section 4, we consider the first...

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