This panel maps ethnographic accounts of the cross-border circulations of olive cultures and commodities from around the world, especially from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, probing the limits of regional cooperation and conflict in olive regions.
From the perspectives of agricultural economic regimes as well as human diet, cultural fantasies, and political struggles, olive fruit and its derivatives in liquid and solid forms have always constituted a significant ecological niche. With the opening up of alternative markets such as in the USA, Brazil, Japan, Australia, Russia and China in recent years, olive fruit and its oil experienced an upsurge in trade in recent years and are once again at the epicenter of world cultural economy, affecting the lives of olive and olive oil producing, consuming, and trading countries, regions, and their peoples alike. Behind abstracted figures and statistics on the production, exchange and consumption of olive fruit and its cosmetic as well as culinary products, however, lie a whole other world of sweat and blood of people whose lives have been touched vis-à-vis the domestication of the olive tree throughout recent millennia. This panel brings together scholars and students of the cultivation, exchange and consumption of olive tree products from around the world, especially from the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, in order to share their ethnographic knowledge of the cross-border production and circulations of olive cultures and commodities, probing the limits of regional cooperation and conflict in olive regions. Ethnographic contributions to his panel are inspired by different theoretical and conceptual approaches such as the world-system theory, political ecology, political economy, and cultural history and heritage studies and that experiment with a variety of data collecting techniques ranging from participant observation to policy analysis.