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Nueva antropología

versión impresa ISSN 0185-0636


RODRIGUEZ GOMEZ, Guadalupe. La denominación de origen del tequila: pugnas de poder y la construcción de la especificidad sociocultural del agave azulThe Making of Tequila's Geographical Indication: The Struggle for Power and the Construction of agave azul Distinctiveness. Nueva antropol [online]. 2007, vol.20, n.67, pp.141-171. ISSN 0185-0636.

The Mexican state has granted Appellations d'Origine Contrôlée to tequila, mezcal, bacanora, and sotol. These commodities are Mexican alcoholic drinks made from different varieties of agave. The formal distinction and protection they share, Denominación de Origen (Geographical Indication, GI), is a legal form given by the Mexican state and, then, recognized by multilateral treaties. Granting a product a GI means that only those goods made in a specific geographical region, using particular production methods and raw materials, can carry the name of that region. This discussion is a historical re-construction of the process of making Tequila GI in both Mexico and the international arena. It illustrates the ways in which tequila's distinctiveness materializes the dynamic and conflictive intertwined between historical, sociocultural, and political-economic processes at the regional, national, and transnational levels. It apprehends tequila's GI as a dynamic arena in which different and opposing groups struggle to gain control on the symbolic and material capital that is embedded in GIs. In doing so, they wrestle for access to domestic and worldwide market that such commodities occupy. This is because GI grants to these commodities the right to bear a meaningful and privileged place that carries out added value in the global flow of goods. This paper also demonstrates that GIs are cultural and historical forms of globalization. It shows how their actual specificity embodies and objectifies the re-invention of tradition, the changing meanings attached to authenticity, the complexity of making a "region of origin", the fluid process of products standardization as well as those of making quality and prestige along globalized criteria. It illustrates how GIs become uniformized as symbols constructed based upon their very specificity. This results by "legitimating" the commodity uniqueness by means of a fluid intersection of both historical and cultural processes of reification and social acknowledgement in everyday life and state technologies of power (i.e., norms and regulations). In this way, it argues that GI embodies, while reflecting, the tension between heterogeneity and homogeneity inherent to globalization. By understanding GIs as polyphonic cultural forms of globalization, this discussion links different dimensions of capitalism and state formation with the dynamic intertwined between GIs re-accentuating process, the historical making of regional identity, and the incorporation of GIs to the global arena of market negotiations (i.e., WIPO and WTO). Finally, Tequila GI case shows the different ways in which nation-states and multilateral institutions coincide and/or conflict in legitimizing GIs, while apprehending the struggle for power between different groups (i.e., within a given region and between different regions) and countries for appropriating the right to claim the ownership on the authentic origin of a GI.

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