Food as Heritage (CoHere)

The CoHERE project seeks to identify, understand and valorise European heritages, engaging with their socio-political and cultural significance and their potential for developing communitarian identities. CoHERE addresses an intensifying EU Crisis through a study of relations between identities and representations and performances of history. It explores the ways in which heritages can be used for division and isolation, or to find common ground and ‘encourage modern visions and uses of its past.’ The research covers a carefully selected range of European territories and realities comparatively and in depth; it focuses on heritage practices in official and non-official spheres and engages with various cultural forms, from the living arts to museum displays, food culture, education, protest, commemorations and online/digital practice, among others. CoHERE is funded through Horizon 2020, and responds to the Reflective Societies programme.

Cartografare il presente participates at the WP6: Food as heritage, which focuses on food as a fundamental element of heritage - and therefore a very important one in times of crisis. By adding culinary traditions to other forms of heritage, WP6 brings together the cultural construction and invention of traditions, social practices, public policies and marketing strategies.

WP6 reaches back to the historical roots of culinary traditions as intangible heritage. It aims to deconstruct inventions and stereotypes of food. Adopting a historical perspective, as suggested by the REFLECTIVE 2 Call, it highlights the geteilte Geschichte (a history both shared and divided) of European cuisine, as well as the food plays a role in shiftig over borders or between dimensions, i.e. local, national, and European. It also uses gender as a useful category of analysis. 

The transmission of recipes and traditions is strongly embedded in local, regional and national identities; it is crusial for the self-perception of communities and is deeply rooted in gender relationships. Traditionally women were devoted to the preparation of food and kept the memory of recipes. Since professional cooking has acquired social and economic value, men powerfully entered in this arena. The recent media turn of culinary practices is also deeply gendered. The WP research will engage with these gender aspects which strongly influenced the status of food as symbolic capital of food as cultural heritage and social distinction marker. What people 'know' as a result of school education about the gastronomic heritage and the taste preferences of nighbouring countries is very limited and sometimes different from their eating patterns. The gastronomic heritage is strongly linked to people's philosophy: getting to know locals or Europeans, while tasting a local specialty forms a path of finding common cultural routes. 

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