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Construction of Food Heritages and Local Development Strategies: The Case of Peruvian Gastronomy

In recent years, agrarian production has been accompanied by processes of economic and socio-cultural valorisation which are tied to globalized market logics as well as to local dynamics rooted in strong social needs. Considered as a resource, food heritage becomes a vector of projects that go from initiatives in the touristic sector to other ones more ambitious when it comes to socio-economic development strategies at the local level. Recently, Peruvian cuisine has integrated a discourse asserting that culinary heritage (food, biodiversity and knowledge), if it is based on a balance between conservation and adaptation to international markets, could be able to solve some economic problems affecting rural population. The aim of this research is to put to the test this “developmentist” discourse by analyzing the work relations of the actors (social, economic, political) in charge of the construction of food heritage. This approach will help to determine their capability to run a project whose main ambition is to reduce historical structural inequalities between the Peruvian rural and urban worlds. It also looks to identify possible contradictions between the “conservative” and the economic dimension of heritage, revealing another kind of inequalities, less visible, at the moment to define and select the elements that constitute the Peruvian food heritage. Special attention will be given to the way in which “past” is re-articulated through this process.

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