Bartolo Mascarello: an academic look at “collective identity, contention, and authenticity”

Above: I met with Franca and Maria Teresa Mascarello back in 2008 in their home. Our mission was to unravel the mystery of the Bartolo Mascarello beret.

Yesterday, I received an email from my good friend Josh Kranz who lives and works in New York City: “Thought of you last night – walked by a French place on 39th b/t 5th and 6th called Barrique. ‘Jeremy would never go in there on principle.'” (Check out this great story Josh recently published about an adolescent’s fear of dropping the Torah, a sentiment that I certainly shared in my pre-teen and teen years.)

As it so happens, I also received an email from fellow Nebbiolophile Ken Vastola, who sent me a link to a wonderful research paper, published at Stanford, devoted to Bartolo Mascarello and the Mascarello’s famous campaign against barrique and Berlusconi. (The file is large so be patient when downloading.)

Here’s the title and abstract:

    NO BARRIQUE, NO BERLUSCONI: COLLECTIVE IDENTITY, CONTENTION, AND AUTHENTICITY IN THE MAKING OF BAROLO AND BARBARESCO WINES

    Abstract

    How does contention over authenticity unfold through social movement processes of mobilization and counter-mobilization? We address this issue by studying how the rise of “modern” winemaking practices embodied authenticity as creativity, how the success of the modernists triggered a countermovement seeking to preserve “traditional” wine-making practices, and how the emergent “traditional” category was premised on authenticity as conformity to a genre. This countermovement succeeded in a situation in which market forces seemed destined to displace tradition with modernity.

Photo via Spume.

“A modern winemaker is like Berlusconi,” said Maria Teresa to the researchers. “He is the model. He embodies this way of looking at the market, at the economy.”

Have a look at the paper: it’s a great read. I’m glad to report that the “counter-movement” opposing modernization is alive and well and living in Palo Alto!

2 thoughts on “Bartolo Mascarello: an academic look at “collective identity, contention, and authenticity”

  1. Two weeks ago, I was in the new road for Barolo to watch and take picture of Cerequio’s cru when a little women with a kind smile and straw hat appears from the vineyards… She was Maria Teresa and she knows the friend who take me around Barolo, Federico Curtaz. It was very nice to see her feeling with the vineyards! AF

    • @AF She is a truly delightful woman in a place where not everyone manages to keep their balance. Would LOVE to get to tour the vineyards with Federico! That’s awesome… thanks for stopping by Do Bianchi! We need to connect one of these when I’m in Italy.

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