Food incursions into global heritage

Peruvian cuisine's slippery road to UNESCO

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Author:
Raúl MattaUniversity of Göttingen matta_raul@yahoo.com

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This article provides critical engagement with cultural heritage‐making processes conducted by stakeholders and interest groups within the UNESCO's intangible heritage paradigm. By tracking the road of Peru's cuisine to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (the ICH List) and focusing on the turning points during food's shift from culinary to heritage status, the aim is to shed light on the political and economic forces that shape the meanings of food heritage. This article draws on recent research conducted at the intersection of globalisation with cultural and food politics in Peru. The empirical evidence, collected between 2011 and 2014 from individuals directly implicated in Peru's food heritage‐making, allows for a discussion of how, despite a discursive emphasis on cultural continuity and intercultural dialogue, food incursions into the UNESCO intangible cultural paradigm operate more as an elite‐driven competitive global concept than as a tool for cultural safeguarding and inclusive development. To do so, a description of the backgrounds that led to the rise of food heritage awareness in Peru and an account of the evolution of the candidature of Peruvian cuisine to the UNESCO's ICH List are provided.

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