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The Organizational Construction of Authenticity: An Examination of Contemporary Food and Dining in the U.S


  • Carroll, Glenn R.

    (Stanford U)

  • Wheaton, Dennis Ray

    (Chicago Magazine)


Sociologists and other social scientists have long recognized that certain economic transactions involve more than a simple trade of goods or services for money. A long-standing theme in economic anthropology and sociology emphasizes the symbolic or moral character of certain economic exchanges or transactions (Weber 1902, Veblen 1899; Malinowski, 1920; Geertz 1973, Sahlins 1976, Douglas 1966). Some scholars working within the new economic sociology continue in this tradition by examining how cultural beliefs affect economic life, both in the background as institutions shaping social interaction and in the foreground as reflected in market dynamics, including price (Zelizer 1994; Velthuis 2005). A related, specific theme of contemporary interest examines the interpretation and value placed on the perceived authenticity of products and producers to a transaction. For instance, Peterson (1997) examines how authenticity is "fabricated" in country music in order to make it appealing. Similarly, Carroll and Swaminathan (2000) conjecture that the rise of microbreweries and brewpubs resulted from the authenticity appeal of their organizational forms. Likewise, Grazian (2003:17) studies "how different kinds of people within the world of Chicago blues employ the concept of authenticity in their daily rounds in everyday life." Fine (2004) analyzes how the biographies of self-taught artists define their authenticity. Rao et al. (2005) examine how issues of authenticity affect the social boundaries between classical and nouvelle French cuisine and the implications for restaurants. Finally, Wherry (2006) looks at the different ways authenticity plays out in the Thai market for handicrafts.

Suggested Citation

  • Carroll, Glenn R. & Wheaton, Dennis Ray, 2008. "The Organizational Construction of Authenticity: An Examination of Contemporary Food and Dining in the U.S," Research Papers 1995, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1995

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joel M. Podolny & Marya Hill-Popper, 2004. "Hedonic and transcendent conceptions of value," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 91-116, February.
    2. Holt, Douglas B, 1997. " Poststructuralist Lifestyle Analysis: Conceptualizing the Social Patterning of Consumption in Postmodernity," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 326-350, March.
    3. Loureiro, Maria L. & Umberger, Wendy J., 2002. "Estimating Consumer Willingness-To-Pay For Country Of-Origin-Labels For Beef Products," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19745, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    4. Loureiro, Maria L. & Umberger, Wendy J., 2003. "Estimating Consumer Willingness to Pay for Country-of-Origin Labeling," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 28(02), August.
    5. James N. Baron, 2004. "Employing identities in organizational ecology," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 3-32, February.
    6. Rodolphe Durand & Hayagreeva Rao & Philippe Monin, 2005. "Border Crossing: Bricolage and the Erosion of Categorical Boundaries in French Gastronomy," Post-Print hal-00457938, HAL.
    7. Rodolphe Durand & Hayagreeva Rao & Philippe Monin, 2003. "Institutional Change in Toque Ville: Nouvelle Cuisine as an Identity Movement in French Gastronomy," Post-Print hal-00480858, HAL.
    8. Greta Hsu & Michael T. Hannan, 2005. "Identities, Genres, and Organizational Forms," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 16(5), pages 474-490, October.
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