The regulation and labeling scheme for PDO, PGI and TSG was set up in Norway in 2002, modeled on corresponding systems for geographical indications (GIs) in the European Union. The implementation of GI in Norway was demanding, causing administrators, producers, consultants and others to make a significant and all-round effort to adapt the scheme to the Norwegian food culture and the Norwegian food culture to the scheme. This chapter probes the theme of this mutual adaptation work and its consequences.
Norway makes up the food-cultural context in this study, whereas Tørrfisk fra Lofoten (Stockfish from Lofoten (SfL)) is used as a specific case of a GI product. SfL was selected as unit for analysis mainly because it is also registered as a third-country GI product in the European Union. Including the Norway/EU dimension makes it possible to consider not only the local and national levels but also the multilevel dimension and complexity of GI systems as part of the analysis – making the power within, and the consequences of, the adaptation work even more complex and intriguing.
The analysis is based on diverse forms of empirical material, such as document studies of laws, policy documents, other documents and interviews with people responsible for working out product regulations in producer organizations. Interviews have also been conducted with key informants representing public administrative bodies administering the regulation. The analysis is not dedicated to any specific methodological or theoretical tools but takes inspiration from an adapted set of perspectives to describe and understand the cultural adaptation work of GI schemes and products.
The conclusion is that the evolution of GI in Norway, with SfL as the case study, can be understood as a chain of adaptations and adaptive practices necessary to unite the dynamic that occurs in modern global regulations’ ordering of the cultural status of traditional local products. The consequences of this food-cultural adaptation work give voice to and empower local actors and subordinate groups, but they can also be seen as instruments that hamper democratic forms of development.