The Production and Economization of Quality in Turkish Olive Oil

16 Sep 2022


Announced by the University of Pittsburgh:

Turkey is in the midst of a ‘quality turn’ in its olive oil sector, as producers seek ways to capture value through what I describe here as processes of qualification. Based on fieldwork with olive oil producers and others in the sector in Ayvalık, Turkey, I show how the qualities of ‘high-quality’ olive oil are made through human labor, technique and technology. These attempts to stabilize and standardize the experience of taste and smell to align with international norms involve harvesters, producers, chemical compounds, laboratories, international organizations, standards, terminologies, infrastructures, cargo companies, equipment manufacturers, consultants, and consumers. Such oil is relatively unfamiliar to many in Turkey, necessitating the formation of a market for it through the economization of its qualities.

Speaker: Brian Silverstein
Brian Silverstein is Associate Professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, where he heads the new Arizona Center for Turkish Studies. He is the author of Islam and Modernity in Turkey (2011) and many journal articles. His current research is on Turkey’s European Union integration reforms, particularly the politics of statistics.

Event Date: 
Friday, September 16, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Sponsored By: 
The University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Arizona Center for Turkish Studies and Center for Regional Food Studies
Virtual, University of Arizona Marshall 490
Target Audience: 
Higher Education