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Creating value, consuming Bologna: The case of DegustiBo


Journal of Consumer Culture

Published online on


This article addresses the aestheticization of traditional foods and the use of territorialization as a brand value for the promotion of products and services. Economy of quality is studied through a focus on the role that political institutions may have in promoting quality chains. Through document analysis, questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups, we consider the case of the quality brand, DegustiBo, promoted by the Province of Bologna, Italy. This initiative was developed to help local shops and restaurants find a source of common identity in the local territory. We consider actors’ narratives in defining, judging, and creating quality as related to the specific branding initiative, focusing on the way different descriptions of quality as related to ways of enacting territory are read and presented as performing authenticity. We explore how branding has been supported, realized, and responded to, concentrating on the encounter between consumers and producers. A focus on producers’ perceptions of consumer competence helps addressing the narrative asymmetry between consumers and producers, and the ways in which consumer rituals work as sites of knowledge transmission and conflict, defining the contours of an arena for the performance of concerted and contested notions such as traditional, local, and authentic food.