The processing and consumption of a natural monopoly resource: Cultural dimensions of the commodification of Chios’ mastiha
Title: The processing and consumption of a natural monopoly resource: Cultural dimensions of the commodification of Chios’ mastiha
Author: GALANI-MOUTAFI, Vasiliki
Series/Report no.: EUI RSCAS; 2007/34
Mastiha, a resinous aromatic sap produced from an evergreen tree thriving only in the southern part of the eastern Aegean island of Chios, is a product with symbolic density from the perspective of the cultural meanings it transmits, some of which emanate from marketing practices. The distinctiveness of mastiha as it relates to place as well as its changing exploitation form the core of the promotional campaign of a private local firm. The latter, through a series of initiatives projected as ‘family tradition’ has facilitated mastiha’s entrance into global economic and cultural flows, contributing thereby to a re-articulation of the local-global, modern-traditional dimensions. The paper analyzes the production system, images and representations forging visions and identities not only of mastiha and its place of origin, but also of a new brand and its founders, the private Chian firm. In addition, relying on the findings of qualitative research, the paper highlights the multiple meanings—accrued from advertisements, the buying process and personal experiences—different types of consumers (mainly national tourists and local residents) attribute to mastiha and ‘all-natural’ mastiha-based body and face care products.
Subject: consumption; place identity; cultural meanings; tradition; modernity
Type of Access: openAccess