Understanding the Evolution of GI Schemes and GI Products As Cultural Adaptation Work

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 18:20
Oral Presentation
Atle Wehn HEGNES, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Norway
The regulation and labelling scheme for PDO, PGI and TSG was set up in Norway in 2002, modelled on corresponding systems for GIs in the European Union. The implementation of GI in Norway was demanding, causing administrators, producers, consultants and others to make a significant and all-round effort to adapt the scheme to Norwegian food culture, and Norwegian food culture to the scheme. This paper probes the theme of this mutual adaptation work, and its consequences.

Norway makes up the food cultural context in this study, whereas Tørrfisk fra Lofoten and Fenalår fra Norge are used as examples of GI products. The two products are selected as objects for analysis because they are the only Norwegian products also registered as third country GI-products in EU - making the adaptation work and its consequences even more complex and intriguing.

The analysis is based on diverse forms of empirical material, such as document studies of laws, policy documents, etc. and interviews with persons responsible for working out product regulations in producer organizations. Interviews have also been conducted with key informants representing public administrative bodies administering the regulation.

The analysis is not dedicated to any specific methodological or theoretical tools but takes inspiration from an adapted set of perspectives to describe and understand the cultural adaptation work of GI schemes and products.

The conclusion is that the evolution of GI in Norway can be understood as a chain of adaptations and adaptive practises necessary to unite the dynamic ordering of modern global regulations with the food cultural status of traditional local products. The consequences of this food cultural adaptation work both give voices and empowers local actors and subordinate groups, but can also be seen as an instrument that hampers democratic forms of development.