Middle Eastern and North African Colloquium Series
The Production and Economization of Quality in Turkish Olive Oil
Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Brian Silverstein will be speaking about, 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.