Accepted paper:

"In pursuit of the undying tree": power, capital, and regional inequality in southeast Europe

Authors:

Bilge Firat (University Of Texas At El Paso)

Paper short abstract:

Turkish olive and olive oil producers and environmental enthusiasts in Turkey voice survivalist discourses, in order to struggle against corporate and governmental interventions into property relations and agricultural production while facing market forces with high competition.

Paper long abstract:

Turkish government has recently passed a law allowing corporate energy companies to capitalize on land where olives were traditionally grown, in order to build small and large-scale energy plants. After the Gezi events in 2013, environmental groups and socially conscious resident populations organized public campaigns with national and international outreach, in order to stop some of these governmental initiatives. While Turkey's domestic energy and olive demands are pitched to one another, Turkish olive and olive oil production is closely tied to capitalist relations of agriculture, which are dominant in all countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea where olives grow. A unique feature of the Turkish olive market is however the fact that Turkish companies import olive oil from the countries to Turkey's South and East, and export it in bulk to the EU. This paper argues that, on the one hand, in the most recent form olive and olive oil producers and environmental enthusiasts in Turkey voice survivalist discourses modeled by slow food movements around the world, in order to struggle against corporate and governmental interventions into property relations and agricultural production. On the other hand, they have to face market forces in the EU where competition is rife in olive and olive oil production.

panel Food005
Olive futures: ethnographies of a delicious kind