Manufacturing 'authenticity' : a case study of the Niagara wine cluster
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In this thesis, I use "Fabricating Authenticity," a model developed in the Production of Culture Perspective, to explore the evolving criteria for judging what constitute "real" and authentic Niagara wines, along with the naturalization of these criteria, as the Canadian Niagara wine cluster has come under increasing stress from globalization. Authenticity has been identified as a hallmark of contemporary marketing and important to cultural industries, which can use it for creating meaningful differentiation; making it a renewable resource for securing consumers, increasing market value; and for relationships with key brokers. This is important as free trade and international treaties are making traditional protective barriers, like trade tariffs and markups, obsolete and as governments increasingly allocate industry support via promotion and marketing policies that are directly linked to objectives of city and regional development, which in turn carry real implications for what gets to be judged authentic and inauthentic local culture. This research uses a mixed methods research strategy, drawing upon ethnographic observation, marketing materials, newspaper reports, and secondary data to provide insight into the processes and conflicts over efforts to fabricate authenticity, comparing the periods before and after the passage of NAFT A to the present period. The Niagara wine cluster is a good case in point because it has little natural advantage nor was there a tradition of quality table wine making to facilitate the naturalization of authenticity. Geographic industrial clusters have been found particularly competitive in the global economy and the exploratory case study contributes to our understanding of the dynamic of '1abricating authenticity," building on various theoretical propositions to attempt to derive explanations of how global processes affect strategies to create "authenticity," how these strategies affect cultural homogeneity and heterogeneity at the local level, and how the concept of "cluster" contributes to the process of managing authenticity.