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End or invention of Terroirs? Regionalism in the marketing of French luxury goods: the example of Burgundy wines in the inter-war years

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  • Gilles Laferté

Abstract

French rural worlds have been historicized over the last thirty years. This paper presents a research approach that attempts to reconcile cultural history and social history. Recent studies of regionalism in France have drawn extensively on the constructivist model of the nation and have sought to denaturalize its representations. But in articulating this history of representations with the economic uses made of them -and particularly the specialization of the French economy in luxury markets- it is best to eschew the routine phraseology of ?identity? and prefer the combination of ?social image? and ?affiliation?. This provides a better understanding of how discourse and social structures interlock. Social spheres gravitating around regionalism in the inter-war years were very much interdependent. The nineteenth-century model that portrayed luxury goods as aristocratic was superseded by a model in which luxury products conveyed traditionalist values. The shift in the balance of power in the wine market away from winemerchants and toward vineyard owners can be understood only in the light of the political and cultural networks that vineyard owners managed to develop.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilles Laferté, 2012. "End or invention of Terroirs? Regionalism in the marketing of French luxury goods: the example of Burgundy wines in the inter-war years," INRA UMR CESAER Working Papers 2012/2, INRA UMR CESAER, Centre d'’Economie et Sociologie appliquées à l'’Agriculture et aux Espaces Ruraux.
  • Handle: RePEc:ceo:wpaper:34
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    File URL: http://www2.dijon.inra.fr/cesaer/workingpapers/RePEc/ceo/wpaper/wp2012_2.pdf
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    Keywords

    Wine; Folklore; Regionalism; Terroir; Rural Sociology; Ethnology of France;

    JEL classification:

    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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