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Title: Local, loyal and constant? : on the dynamism of 'terroir' in sustainable agriculture
Author: Hill, Rory Anthony Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 8883
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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'Terroir' is a concept that is used in France, and increasingly elsewhere, to evoke character and quality in food and drink in relation to the place it comes from. In this thesis, I investigate how terroir has attained its present-day economic value and cultural resonance; how it is subject to multiple forms of articulation across France; and how it is put to use as part of the philosophies and practices of environmentally sustainable modes of production. I use cultural and historical modes of enquiry and I draw upon interviews, participant observation, discourse and archive analysis carried out on fieldwork in three production chains in eastern France; being wine production in Burgundy, walnut production in the Isère valley, and Reblochon cheese production in the Alps. In the course of this thesis, I elucidate the cultural significance and epistemology of the concept, and make arguments that propositions for terroir consist of both specific geographical extent and historical density of explanation; that the rhetorical assembly of stories about terroir permits claims for continuity in production and tradition; and that the adoption of organic and biodynamic methods of farming troubles inherited understandings of what terroir is, through the intervention of the lively propensities of biotic actors. This is a story about food, farming and culture in France that I tell to critically examine the local, loyal and constant predicates of terroir, and to make an original contribution to our understanding of the cultural and historical background to the French and European systems of geographical protection in food and drink.
Supervisor: Whatmore, Sarah Sponsor: States of Jersey
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Terroir ; Viticulture--France ; Cheese industry--France ; Sustainable agriculture--France ; Organic farming--France