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Eating identities and places

Brazilian Tourism Studies on Gastronomy (2007-2016)
Manger des identités et des lieux ; études touristiques brésiliennes sur la gastronomie (2007-2016)
Filipe Augusto Couto Barbosa and Janine Helfst Leicht Collaço


This work presents a systematic review of contemporary Brazilian tourism studies concerning gastronomy. To do this, we analyse articles from authors related to Brazilian institutions that published in tourism studies journals, in the period from 2007 to 2016. In addition, we conducted a brief analysis of the contents of the articles and investigated the academic trajectories of the authors through additional publications, outlining the emergence of a new scientific subfield. The results show that Brazilian tourism studies on gastronomy are recent but growing rapidly and that, because of its multidisciplinary object, demands a balance between the contributions of the several fields that compose it. In this sense we detected that, although almost a third of the articles have properly approached the cultural and social aspects of gastronomy in relation to tourism, more than a third dealt with ethnicity in an essentialist way and less than ten per cent took a critical attitude towards these aspects. Finally, the data point out that this is due to lack of influence from social sciences, especially from anthropology.

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1This work presents a systematic review of Brazilian tourism studies concerning gastronomy. Since the 1950s, as it appeared, this subfield has drawn little attention, even in countries such as England, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, and only brought us close to a consideration of this issue in the nineties. In Brazil, tourism studies are recent and the topic of gastronomy gained more attention in the beginning of the 2000s. Our review covers a period of ten years, starting in 2007 (before that, tourism studies were scarce in Brazil) and encompassing the articles published until the end of 2016. We are witnessing the emergence of an area of great scientific and market interest. Gastronomy activities represent half of Brazilian tourism revenues. Furthermore, it mobilizes identities and power relations, locally, regionally, and globally.

  • 1 Considering only journals that are specialized in tourism studies, we abandon the dependence on a s (...)

2Brazilian tourism studies on gastronomy are not a concern of a particular area of knowledge and the task is to construct a dialogue with several other areas. Nonetheless, our review brings to light a notable lack of contribution from the fields of anthropology and of sociology. We believe that this neglect is the main cause of a recurrent theoretical fragility regarding the cultural dimension of gastronomy in tourism relations. To verify this hypothesis, we will analyse research articles published on tourism studies journals (and only those that allow unrestricted open access to its content).1

3Our review aims at exploring the prevailing characteristics of this scientific subfield in Brazil. In addition to this first step, we introduce a short content analysis of the articles, pointing out the central themes, methods and theoretical-discursive perspectives of these. On the one hand, this will allow us to understand theoretical consequences of this neglect; on the other hand, it will help us elucidate the reasons that lead to the late interest of Brazilian academic researchers with the subfield of national tourism studies on gastronomy.

4Another attempt is to understand the influence of other scientific fields in this subfield, and to elaborate such point we will analyse the academic trajectory of the articles’ authors.

5We use the term “field” having Bourdieu’s (1975) definition of “scientific field” in mind. As any other field, it is subject to the social conditions of production. Scientists establish power relations internally and ascribe specific “symbolic capital” to each area or subarea. This “distinctive value” calls for authority, “by arrogating to themselves the monopoly of certain practices or of reflexion on those practices” (p. 35). This ultimately ensures a conversion of “scientific capital” into “economic capital”.

6This approach will be to use the articles to address some of the distinctions of tourism studies researchers, but also at defining the tourism studies on gastronomy as a scientific subfield in contemporary Brazil.

  • 2 In Brazil, a scoring system known as “Qualis Periódicos” evaluates the scientific journals in which (...)
  • 3 In Brazil, we have only 11 graduate programs in tourism studies (4 master’s programs, 3 professiona (...)

7Our research points out that Brazilian tourism studies on gastronomy are very recent and rapidly growing. Due its interdisciplinary character, it demands contributions from several areas of knowledge. Nevertheless, we have detected a lack of contribution from social sciences, especially from anthropology. This is partially due to the system of evaluation of Brazilian scientific production2 and the inclusion of tourism studies in a field dominated by business and management studies. The underestimation and, in some cases, the invisibility of journals on tourism studies, as well as of the scientists working on this field, contribute to this lack of interest. This condition not only repels contributions from crucial fields for tourism studies such as anthropology, economy, geography, history and sociology, but also kept tourist scholars in a very restrict peer-competition, cornered among thousands of business and management researchers.3

  • 4 We provide an ‘overview’ because we do not intend to write a dense literature review, since we are (...)

8After describing of our review, we will provide a short content analysis and an overview4of the main themes, the meta-theoretical choices, and the methods employed in the analysed articles. Despite having found empirical and pragmatic works, the result of our analysis indicates a theoretical fragility in Brazilian tourism studies regarding consumption, food, and ethnicity in tourism social relations. Many of the works analysed attempts to undertake a cultural analysis of identities exploring ethnical or local food in a superficial way, treating globalization and cultural changes as socially corrosive and as acculturation processes. We believe that this perspective is a consequence of the mentioned lack of contribution from social scientists to tourism studies.

9At the second part of the text, we discuss some critical aspects of the relationship between tourism and gastronomy in Brazil and try to develop a critical perspective upon this debate.

10We develop this article in two parts:

11At first, we introduce a systematic review of the Brazilian scientific production regarding gastronomy in the field of tourism studies;

12Subsequently, we present an additional and short content analysis. Then, we develop a critical perspective upon the debate, trying to understand the key features of this field in Brazil.

  • 5 Evaluation criteria available for consultation at: [ (...)

13After this introductory presentation, we can now develop how we worked on the criteria for selection of journals and articles that are part of this analysis. We selected articles published from January 2007 to December 2016 in tourism studies journals evaluated by CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior [Higher Education Personnel Improvement Coordination]) and with at least one author linked to a Brazilian institution (the data used refer to the evaluation carried out in 2016). CAPES evaluates scientific journals according to its own system of classification, called Qualis Periódicos5 (A1 is the higher, then A2, and thereafter B1; B2; B3; B4; B5; C, zero weight).

14Among other criteria, Qualis Periódicos uses international recognized measures, such as the “impact factor” provided by the Web of Science, known as JCR (Journal Citation Reports), which is probably the most widely used criterion in the Western scientific community. It also uses criteria of international citation and index bases such as Scopus (H-Scopus), Redalyc and Scielo. In addition, CAPES recommends some general criteria such as minimum periodicity and at least three years of existence; establishes punishment for delays and percentage quotas for each classification stratum (stimulating competition between journals to occupy the higher strata); and scores the journals according to its scopes (giving high grades to multidisciplinary journals). CAPES also allows each Area of Evaluation to elaborate its own additional criteria.

  • 6 Except for the journals linked to strictu sensu graduate programs recognized by CAPES. Exception th (...)
  • 7 One can access Plataforma Sucupira at the following address: [ (...)

15In this study, we selected only journals rated between A1 and B36 (found at the Plataforma Sucupira).7 Our criteria of selection encompass approximately 60% of the tourism studies journals in which researchers affiliated to Brazilian institutions have published. The journals classified in these strata are the most relevant, circulating at national and international level. We only considered journals that were active in 2016 – since recent publications provides the most relevant data – with unrestricted open access to its content. We have not considered books; congresses annals or journals based in congresses annals, since considering these would require another type of research. Moreover, there are no available ranking lists of books and congress papers published by the researchers affiliated to Brazilian institutions.

  • 8 According to CAPES (2017), which is linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC), the Colleg (...)

16Following these criteria and relying ourselves on the assessment of scientific committees (and its Areas of Evaluation) from the college of Humanities,8 we found twenty-four (24) scientific journals. Eight disciplinary committees and one interdisciplinary committee have evaluated these journals, as one can see in Annex 2.

17We visited the official websites of those journals and consulted the publications from 2007 to 2016. We selected the articles according to:

18-publications with at least one author linked to a Brazilian research institutions;

19-research articles (excluding reviews of books, reports of events, etc.).

  • 9 Regarding this methodological choice, we must do two considerations: (1) more possibilities would m (...)

20-regarding the search terms, only that articles containing in keywords AND title OR abstract any of the following words and radical branches: eat*, cuisine, culinary, food, gastro*, restaurant* and tour*9.

  • 10 Registration in Currículo Lattes, which is the curriculum system of CNPq, is mandatory for any scho (...)

21-only the articles in which authors adopted perspectives from Humanities (mainly to exclude the biological studies of touristic food contamination). We found 78 articles in total, as one could see in Annex 3. We also mapped data regarding the academic education of the authors of these articles. We took these data from the official platform known as Lattes10, the curriculum system of the CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico [National Council for Scientific and Technological Development]). Therefore, we used these data to understand the influence of scientific fields upon the methods and theoretical orientation of Brazilian tourism studies regarding gastronomy.

22We sustain that both the field of tourism studies and its subfield devoted to gastronomy are under dispute and seeking recognition in different areas of humanities, articulating their own methods and theories, and looking forward to create their own approaches. We also claim that this subfield is belatedly responding to questions raised by the phenomenon of globalization. There is a clear difficulty concerning the treatment of themes such as consumption, ethnicity, and food heritage, and we believe that the lack of contribution from social sciences (especially from anthropology) is the cause of these uncovers issues.

Brazilian tourism studies on gastronomy: a systematic review (2007-2016)

23In Brazil, gastronomy services have acquired a great importance in the industry of tourism, drawing market’s attention. The service sector accounts for a substantial part of the revenues from the tourism economy, achieving in 2009 “the greatest participation in Tourism-related Activities: 41.9%, which totalizes an amount of R$ 89.5 billion” (IBGE 2012: 21). (Authors translation)

24Following the statistical indicators and experiencing these data in practical reality, tourism researchers in Brazil turned their attention to gastronomy. As a result, it is possible to observe a boost in the scientific production about the theme in the last 10 years, as one can see in Graph 1.

Graphic 1: Total of articles published per year in the period from 2007 to 2016.

Graphic 1: Total of articles published per year in the period from 2007 to 2016.

Credit: the authors.

25We analysed 24 journals and only in 15, we found articles on gastronomy. Rosa do Ventos, a journal linked to UCS (Universidade de Caxias do Sul [University of South Caxias]) and Turismo e Sociedade, which is associated to UFPR (Universidade Federal do Paraná [Federal University of Paraná), ranked above average. We found respectively 16 articles (21%) and 12 articles (15%) in each of these journals, as one can see in Annex 2.

26Among those 24 journals, we found 14 exclusively connected to Brazilian institutions, 4 to Spanish institutions, 2 to Argentinian, 1 to a North-American, 1 to a French, 1 to an Italian, and 1 to a Portuguese institution; and 3 journals linked to two institutions (one results from a partnership between Brazil and Spain, other between Cuba and Spain, and the other between Portugal and Spain). Among the 78 articles, 70 are available in Portuguese, 7 in Spanish, and only 1 in English, which indicates a timid internationalization of this production.

  • 11 The first special thematic issue, entitled Tourism and Gastronomy, was published in 2012, and compr (...)
  • 12 The special thematic issue on Wine tourism, organized by Miguel Bahl and Vander Valduga, in 2014, t (...)

27It is important to notice that Rosa dos Ventos11 and Turismo e Sociedade published special issues on tourism and gastronomy. Rosa dos Ventos published one in 2012 and the other in 2013, and Turismo e Sociedade published one in 2014.12 We noticed that these special issues have probably concentrated the publications of the subfield in the period from 2012 to 2014, decreasing the number of articles published in other journals considered in the analysis. We can observe this impact in Graphic 2, which shows the amount of articles found in each of the five journals that achieved the best marks between 2007 and 2016 and had more regularity during the period between 2012 and 2016.

Graphic 2: History of publications on the theme in journals that published at least 1 article per year from 2012 to 2016.

Graphic 2: History of publications on the theme in journals that published at least 1 article per year from 2012 to 2016.

Credit: the authors.

28Regardless of those thematic special issues, one can observe that in 2012, there was a growth superior to 100% in production, establishing an average of a little more than 12 articles per year between 2012 and 2016. This average was significantly inferior in the five previous years (2007-2011), reaching only 3 articles per year. We believe that this contrast is a result of the development of an emerging subfield.

29By analysing the Graphic 2, one can notice that these 5 journals published together an average of 8 articles on gastronomy per year in the last half of the analysed period (2012-2016). These journals published more than 60% of the total annual in the area. One can also notice a higher average in the years in which Rosa dos Ventos and Turismo e Sociedade published the thematic dossiers. Rosa dos Ventos published 4 articles in 2012 and 7 in 2013; Turismo e Sociedade published 7 articles in 2014.

30It is also important to mention the regularity of three journals: Hospitalidade (a journal affiliated to the Anhembi Morumbi University), which published 3 articles in 2012 and, then, one per year from 2014 to 2016; Cenário (linked to the University of Brasília) which published 2 articles in 2015 and 3 in 2016; and TURyDES (associated to the University of Havana), which published 2 articles in 2015 and 2 in 2016.

31In order to show how recent this field is, it is interesting to analyse the emergence of journals. Most of the journals are quite new. Out of 24 journals, 5 initiated their activities in the 1990s, 11 in the 2000s, and 8 started between 2010 and 2013 (the lack from 2013 to 2016 is due to the fact that the evaluations of Qualis Periódicos considers only journals with at least 3 years of activity). Considering that incredible growing factor, it is easy to conclude that we are experiencing a significant expansion of tourism studies.

32In this context, and in order to prove that the subfield of Brazilian tourism studies regarding gastronomy is already taking shape, we looked for authors with at least two publications in the journals and in the period set for analysis (2007-2016), observing the total of articles and the period between the first and the last of these, as one can see in Table 1.

Table 1: Total articles per author and period of publication.

Table 1: Total articles per author and period of publication.

Credit: the authors.

33Eighteen authors participated in 54 of the 78 articles we have analysed here. These data show a considerable influence of these authors on the subfield. Twelve of them published at least once in the last two years (2015-2016). These results show that this scientific subfield is not only consolidating, but also growing, and that it already has its pioneers, researchers that are becoming experts on tourism studies related to gastronomy.

Researchers’ academic education, main themes, methods, and perspectives

34Based on the academic education (until 2016) of the 12 main authors (data available at their academic resumes in CNPq’s Currículo Lattes platform), we were able to create a kind of index of influence of the scientific fields in this subfield. The data based in the academic education of those authors, as one can see below, in Table 2, shows that there is an important influence of its original field, the field of tourism studies, particularly at the undergraduate degree, and that the influence from other fields of human sciences increases from the graduate degrees.

Table 2: Influence of scientific fields in the academic background of the 12 main authors

Table 2: Influence of scientific fields in the academic background of the 12 main authors

Credit: the authors.

35Following CAPES’ criteria (which in fact is used to evaluate only graduate degree programs), we placed the courses related to the field of tourism studies within the fields of business and public administration, and accounting sciences (which compose a single CAPES’ Evaluation Area). However, by highlighting the number of courses related to tourism studies, as we did in Table 2, we detect that the exclusive influence of those fields decreases a lot, being limited to 2 specialists (1 in marketing and finance for international business, and the other in public management) and 1 undergraduate degree (in business and management) among the 12 main authors.

36It is important to notice the ‘organic’ influence of the field of tourism studies on the subfield under analysis: 9 have undergraduate degree in tourism, 4 are specialists, 7 are holders of a master’s degree, 1 is doctoral student and 3 have doctoral degree.

37Still looking for autonomous influence upon the subfield, we found only 1 specialist from the field of gastronomy. We believe this to be a result of the features of gastronomy education in Brazil, which has a more professional, technological and business profile.

38Regarding the influence of human sciences upon the subfield under analysis, it is important to remark the relevance of some fields such as geography (2 holders of master’s degree, and 2 of doctoral degree) – a pioneering field in tourism studies –; history (1 has undergraduate degree, has 1 master’s degree and 2 have doctoral degree); and communication (1 master’s degree and 1 doctoral degree).

39It is also worth mentioning that the fields of political science and of international relations (which compose a single CAPES’ Evaluation Area) and the fields of anthropology and of archaeology (in same situation) did not score.

40Considering political science and international relations, the result may indicate a focus on the legal sphere and not in the routine of power and communication among nations. This lack of participation is remarkable not only because several countries, as well as the United Nations and UNESCO, are concerned with promoting tourism and cultural heritage as an attraction, but also because tourism is eminently intercultural.

41The lack of influence from anthropology indicates a major deficiency in the multidisciplinary background of tourism studies. It is a major deficiency because the object conceived in the relation between tourism and gastronomy demands some anthropological knowledge, which offers the appropriate tools to investigate the intercultural background of tourism relations. In Portugal, for example, the scholars of tourism and official authorities have recognized the benefits of the association between these two fields and have changed the curricula of tourism courses in order to increase anthropology’s relevance in these (MARUJO 2016).

42We believe that the logic of super specialization inhibits foreign scholars from publishing in journals specialized in tourism studies. In addition, since these journals do not have good marks in other areas, they become unattractive to these scholars, as we can observe (see Annex 2) by verifying the ranking of tourism journals in each Evaluation Area. Only one of the tourism studies journals reached A2 in its Evaluation Area, the others are in the B range.

43The Evaluation Area of Anthropology and Archaeology considered four journals, one scored B3 and three, scored B4. These grades make them less appealing for top researchers in this field.

44The Evaluation Area of Sociology considered more magazines, totalizing fifteen; these also exhibit little visibility: three of them scored B3; three others were considered B4; seven scored B5; and two journals scored C.

45These data indicate that researchers from other fields have no interest in publishing in tourism studies journals. This neglect ultimately strengthens the influence of business and public administration, weakens the weight of fields such as anthropology and sociology, and keeps tourism studies deprived from the required knowledge about culture, identity, and heritage that would guarantee theoretical density to the field. It is necessary to perform a critical analysis of CAPES’ evaluation criteria and division or fusion of scientific fields in Evaluation Areas, especially in fields eminently interdisciplinary such as tourism studies.

46The next part of our analysis is classify – according to a content analysis of the abstract, introduction, and methodological description of each article – the methods employed in each type of research shown in Graphic 3.

Graphic 3: Distribution of articles per type of research.

Graphic 3: Distribution of articles per type of research.

Credit: the authors

47The Qualitative Research (57 cases) employs the same methods applied to social research. It generally combines a participant observation, which is inspired in ethnological research, with interviews, surveys, content analysis (of menus, gastronomic guides, posters, and websites), and documentary research.

48A Literature Review (9 cases) is the research that performs thematic reviews with deep analysis, but not always in a systematic manner. This type of research is frequently based on subjective criteria for the selection of its materials. A single author, who takes into account a small number of references and puts it in comparison, typically develops it.

49In a Theoretical Essay (5 cases) the author establishes a dialogue between several articles of specialized journals with the purpose of analysing the influence or the potential influence of one or more theories in the field as a whole.

50An Intervention Project (2 cases) is a research that aims at producing direct impact on the field, promoting concrete changes. This type of research generally attempts to encourage and actively intervene in the field, from improving a gastronomic festival to promoting a managerial reformulation of an important gastronomic business.

51The Quantitative Research (1 case) is based solely on quantitative analysis. The data usually come from secondary sources and the results provide only statistical information.

52A Systematic Review (none) is an analysis based on a prior selection of texts according to specific criteria. Usually developed by two or more authors, this kind of analysis provides an overview about a specific theme or object based on both qualitative and quantitative methods. We found a case of this type, however, the author of this article did not find any results in his search, and ended up carrying out a literature review. Thus, we considered this case within the cases of literature review.

53In conclusion, there is a predominance of the methods used in qualitative researches, which involve participant observation, interview, and content analysis, combined with quantitative methods, which indicate the complexity of object of tourism studies on gastronomy. Although not many, there are a considerable number of literature reviews and theoretical essays, which suggests a concern about the consolidation and delimitation of this subfield.

54Through a content analysis of the abstracts, introductions and conclusions of the articles, we classified the types of discourses that underlie the theoretical perspectives assumed in these 78 articles. We considered the manifestation of only two types of discourse per article – as one can see in Graphic 4 –, although there is a few of it that incorporates three and up to four types of discourses.

Graphic 4: Main theoretical-discursive perspectives (2 per article)

Graphic 4: Main theoretical-discursive perspectives (2 per article)

Credit: the authors

55A liberal perspective (51 cases) regards the relationship between tourism and gastronomy from an optimistic and market-oriented standpoint. This perspective understands gastronomic tourism merely as an economic activity turned to the leisure of the tourist, and that necessarily implies local development. It frequently adopts an uncritical outlook and combines it with a hedonistic point of view. It is the hegemonic perspective in the Brazilian tourism studies on gastronomy, as we have seen in Graphic 4.

56An ethnicity perspective (27 cases) relates places and gastronomy directly to ethnicity and cultural identity of individuals and groups, often, though, reinforcing touristic stereotypes and reproducing prejudice. This perspective depicts cultural changes and hybridization always as degeneration of traditional cuisine.

57A cultural perspective (23 cases) focuses on the knowledge and the practices implied in the relation between tourism and gastronomy, which involves intercultural relations established in the practice and the imaginary.

58A managerial perspective (20 cases) focuses on issues relative to business and management of gastronomic tourism in both public and private sector.

59A developmental perspective (15 cases) addresses tourism initiatives, and considers both local and regional development of these, considering gastronomy and tourism as consequences of economic progress.

60A critical perspective (6 cases) highlights the contradictory aspects of tourism, such as social inequality in tourism destinations and environmental unsustainability of some consumption practices; it also emphasizes the disparity of intercultural relations in tourism.

61A health perspective (3 cases) gives prominence to food safety and other issues related to transformation in food chains. In addition, it debates subjects related to nutritional habits and healthy tourism.

62An epistemological perspective (2 cases) examines specific research methods designed for tourism studies on gastronomy, or methods that one could apply to these.

63A semiotic perspective (1 case) understands gastronomy and tourism in a communicational dimension. It stresses out the meanings and the imaginary of food, the relevance of visual elements and landscapes, and the ambiance of restaurants, the design of the menus, the gastronomic guides, as well as the native clothing, the food’s presentation, and so on.

64We based our last analysis on the ‘tag cloud’ below, which results of a computational method of content analysis. It counts all the articles keywords and highlights those ones whit more occurrences, indirectly highlighting their main themes, as seen in Graphic 5 and in Table 3:

Graphic 5: Tag cloud of the keywords (minimum occurrence = 4 > 5%).

Graphic 5: Tag cloud of the keywords (minimum occurrence = 4 > 5%).

Credit: the authors

Table 3: Tags count (minimum occurrence = 4 > 5%).


Number of occurrences

























Credit: the authors

65After introducing the main themes and the content of the articles, we can now carry out a conceptual analysis. Our final aim is to present a substantial interpretation of the subject.

66Considering the occurrence of the tag “gastronomy” (34 > 43%), we found out that it is a term adopted in almost a half of the analysed articles. This term suits tourism studies perfectly, since it applies to a wide range of sociocultural manifestations related to food, from culinary identity, knowledge and techniques to the market-oriented consumption.

67The term “gastronomy” varies in the context of tourism. The term “enogastronomy”, e.g., is a derivative of the first term that includes the prefix “eno”, which derives from ancient Greek language and means “wine”. “Wine tourism” has proven to be expressive. The word “wine” appeared a lot (16 > 20%) at the keywords. Miguel Bahl and Vander Valduga organized a thematic special dossier on wine tourism in 2014, comprising six articles. Ten more articles spread among the analysed publications include the term “wine” in their keywords.

  • 13 Distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice.

68The importance of wine in tourism studies is an interesting phenomenon, and the fact that the occurrence of the term “wine” surpasses a lot the occurrence of terms related to Brazilian traditional drinks, such as “cachaça”13 (which was object of 2 studies), “coffee” (2 studies too), and “beer” (one study), makes the phenomenon even more interesting. This comparison suggests that “wine tourism” is more interconnected with the scientific instances than those other cultural goods, regarding not only market, but also academy.

69A few years ago, the production of wine in Brazil was still quite insignificant. Unlike cachaça and beer, it was linked to specific families and small traditional craft wine producers, and restricted to the sphere of domestic and local consumption. Nonetheless, in the area colonized by Italians in the South region of Brazil, especially in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, came up a micro region that became known as the Vale dos Vinhedos (Valley of the Vineyards), which was able to attract thousands of tourists. Valley of the Vineyards is the popular name of the officially denominated Grape and Wine Region (Região da Uva e do Vinho) in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. The government of this State directly invests in researches related to wine, and several professional and undergraduate courses related to gastronomy, tourism and wine recently aroused there. In the wake of this process, people of some other places and regions are trying to reinforce that vocation. It is the case of the less known city of Paraúna in the State of Goiás, and it is the case of other cities in Southern Bahia, in Southern Minas Gerais, and in the interior of the States of Pernambuco and São Paulo.

70The tag “food” (19 > 24%) also appeared a lot. Its appearance, however, is more restricted to cultural discussions, which involves the importance of food in everyday local practices and the transformation of these practices by intercultural relations and tourism. The occurrence of the term “food” is near to the occurrence of the “Cultural perspective” (23 > 29%), which points to a possible slope aligned with the field of anthropology within the subfield of tourism studies on gastronomy.

71Three other tags also point to a ‘cultural’ use of the term “food”, which are “culture” (8 > 10%), “identity” (7 > 8%), and “heritage” (10 > 12%). However, if we compare this result with the occurrence of the theoretical perspectives, we will observe that discussions about ethnicity occur in about 27 articles (> 34%), which express a considerable difference. In fact, although discussions about ethnicity and cultural traditions are not the subject of these articles, they have appeared in about 35% of the articles, being associated not only with the Cultural perspective, but also with the Liberal (51 > 65%), the Managerial (20 > 25%), and the Developmental (15 > 19%).

72The tag “development” was found only in the keywords of 4 articles (> 5%), however, we detected a developmental perspective underlying at least 15 studies. Some of these seem more concerned with “sustainable development” and “regional development”, and others are mainly enthusiastic supporters of tourism modernization, i.e., always relating development to entrepreneurship, employment and income generation. This perspective also extends itself and reaches enthusiasts of heritage, which directly links the safeguard of popular and traditional cultures to local development.

73The occurrence of managerial perspectives in 25% of the articles explains the inclusion by CAPES of tourism studies in the same field of ‘business and public administration, and accounting sciences’, and perhaps reflects the pragmatic core of social sciences applied to the business and management of tourism and gastronomy activities. The range of this perspective goes from restaurants case studies to local gastronomic festivals and the management of large businesses, as in the case of the wineries in the South of Brazil.

74The hegemony of liberal perspectives (which encompasses 65% of the articles) seems to reflect an optimism regarding tourism economy in Brazil, especially regarding gastronomic activities, which generates enormous revenues even in periods of economic crisis. However, this also reflects an uncritical attitude on the part of the articles’ authors, which rule out the possibility of a predatory tourism. The occurrence of the tag “experience” (6 > 7%) sheds light on an important aspect of liberal perspectives, which is based on notions that emphasizes the hedonistic features of consumption. In this context, critical approaches are not welcome, and the liberal discourse incorporates many others, including those about popular culture and ethnicity. This suggests an instrumental and market-oriented use of terms that are concepts for anthropology (as one can see by the use of notions such as those of “ethnomarketing” and of “folkmarketing”), which is frequently an attempt to add a distinctive value to the main idea.

75It is worth mentioning that the timid but considerable occurrence of critical perspectives (6 > 7%) indicates an intersection with another subfield of tourism studies, that of critical tourism studies. This subfield challenges the field’s dominant discourses and proposes a critical look into the nature of power in tourism relations, leading to an emerging critical turn in tourism studies.

76The ‘traditionalization’ of modern tourism industry derives mostly from a general concern about the preservation of an idyllic past, a “rhetorical of loss” that grounds the Brazilian official discourses on cultural heritage (Gonçalves 2012). Tourism scholars also support this rhetoric. They frequently have the same concerns of ethnologists, who regard with “pessimism” what they consider the possible cause of the extinction of the traditional cultures, the extinction of the modern Other (Sahlins 1997).

77In light of this apocalyptical hegemonic discourse, the heritage of the so-called “traditional societies” has become valuable and scarce goods, which could require record and safeguard. Hence, “traditional cuisines” started to play a central role in gastronomy. This phenomenon came up in the eighties, when traditional cuisines, and therefore gastronomy, began to draw the attention of researchers, investors, and governments, which were all concerned with the danger of cultural dissolution of the ‘small communities’ that were supposedly suffering the consequences of globalization and, therefore, losing their authentic features. (Collaço 2013)

78Collaço (2013) highlights that gastronomy recovers some ‘forgotten’ culinary elements and make in instruments to keep alive a supposed tradition and to intensify the economic activities related to local identities. Therefore, the idea of ‘authenticity’ becomes stronger and acquires a new meaning in this context: a project of organizing a corpus of knowledge that would be capable of revealing the differences between different cuisines around the world. Differences for consumption and eventually, for a certain control.

79The possibility of consumption and control adds economic, political, and cultural elements to the analysis. Hence, we can no longer understand nostalgia as a modern pathology, but rather as a search for tradition, on the one hand, and as an “intensification” of local cultures through an increased dialogue with modern and globalized cultures, on the other hand. (Shalins 1997)

80Nowadays, “difference” has a huge demand as a cultural asset, and the touristic industry has captured this trend and is exploring it. It relates traditions, authenticity labelling, and the ‘feeling’ of nostalgia to gastronomy. This demand for traditional culture consumption suggests a contemporaneous tendency in which dealing with difference is the sign of superior tourism, even if this difference is somehow controlled and domesticated. (Goody 1982)

81Interaction with other cultures is now considered as something positive, which creates a sense of freedom. Nevertheless, it contributes to the artificial maintenance of practices of the so-called traditional cultures and peoples, which find themselves forced to preserve a certain configuration. Therefore, in practice, this arrangement ultimately constitutes a way of conservatism. (Sen 2007)

82Furthermore, gastronomy and tourism are not restricted to a search for traditional experiences, and people who enjoy this kind of tourism generally live in urban areas and define themselves as “cosmopolites”. (Hannerz 1997; Appiah 2007)

Final considerations: new issues about tourism studies on gastronomy

83In Brazil, tourism studies on gastronomy are quite recent and, therefore, still underdeveloped if compared to their status in countries such as England, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The same is truth about the development of tourism studies in countries of the Latin America and Caribbean region, as well as in Mexico. We sought to understand not only the reasons of this delay, but also the causes of the recent boom in this subfield. A systematic analysis of the scientific production about the theme has proven to be the best way to find valuable clues and to provide an overview of Brazilian tourism studies on gastronomy.

84The lack of influence from the field of anthropology in Brazilian tourism studies regarding gastronomy is a serious issue. This suggests that until recent years tourism studies did not pay much attention to anthropological concepts, which could be helpful to promote an interaction between different fields. This phenomenon has gained relevance due to the disputes between capitalists, governments and local people over cultural heritage, constituting a scenario to which anthropologists are already familiar.

85Despite private and public sectors interest in publicizing destinations in several types of media, we are already witnessing a predominance of the use of digital and social media to find and evaluate traveling and food services.

86Internet enables new ways of social living. It also increases the competition for power and acknowledgement by the expansion of this touristic consumption of the modern otherness. The access to such cultural information and its content in images, forms, and values contributes directly to the construction of ideas about the national, the ethnical, and the race, as well as about gender, age, class, food, and so on.

87In the 19th century, at the beginning of professional tourism, the chronicles of the adventure explorers and of the intellectuals and aristocrat travellers were the most common source of cultural stereotypes and “folkways”. This literature was very much popular among the rich cosmopolite citizens of Europe searching for “eccentric, exotic and authentic human realities” (Santana 2009: 27-28) (Authors translation). Nowadays, however, ordinary people are the main dissipaters of cultural stereotypes, which one can easily find in social media. They use apps such as Swarm (by Foursquare), TripAdvisor and Google Maps to make noticed their presence and share their opinions related to the places they visit. Thus, the tourists and local consumers in general are who evaluate and rank touristic destinations, restaurants and pubs in real time.

88In addition to a matter of taste and fantasy to meet cosmopolitan consumption, we need to consider the social and political institutions and the cultures and places involved in this kind of consumption. Took as a practice, this consumption articulates the deeper social structures of hegemonic globalization and bring us to observe the social dynamics and power relations established between ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ cultures. Therefore, it is not by chance that this encounter of cultures shall reveal the political competition settled in the ambivalence of local (or regional, or national, and traditional) identities and cosmopolitan (modern) identities.

89According to Espeitx (2004), every element that constitutes a culture constitutes its heritage, and even if food heritages are not always acknowledged by official institutions, like IPHAN (Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artísitico Nacional [National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute] of Brazil) or UNESCO, it plays a central role in entertainment and tourism industries.

90Tourism marketing frequently means a selection of elements related to a tradition or to some “local culture” considered as a connection to past generations and/or to a specific place, and as an adaptation of these in order to make them attractive to cosmopolitan consumers. The recent increase of tourism activities has stimulated the scientific research on food-tourism, and culture appears as an important concept for tourism studies, demanding anthropological knowledge.

91From a historical approach, Trentmann (2006) argues that the globalization of those elements commonly related to “tradition” and the emergence of consumers attracted by those elements began to settle only in the end of the 20th century. By that time, some new mechanisms for the circulation of goods and different concepts of civic duties were arising, and national identities were emerging and sparking cultural confrontations. These confrontations became the very connection between different cultures and societies, creating a political arena that would later lose power due to increasing individualism.

92It is important to notice that scholars constantly revisit the notion of consumption, and that, in some cases, we can consider the consumer’s choice as a “responsibility”, e.g., if they take into account the “sustainability” and the “political morality” involved in their decision (Sassatelli 2015). However, when considering it an “alternative consumption” the argument above raises a question about the contradictory nature of consumption, since ‘normal consumers’ (and the majority of Brazilian tourism studies researchers) apparently ignore the ‘political’ content of their choices, making us question the tourism industry interests in local cultures and their food heritage.

93In this context, strategies to attract consumers seem to rule the relation between gastronomy and tourism, making “ethnicity” and “food heritage” only a fuel for the market. However, for the local peoples, food-tourism and gastronomy in general may become an important way to project and protect themselves and their cultural heritage in the globalized world.

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APPIAH K. A. 2007. “Cosmopolitan Contamination”, in D. Held & H. L. Moore (ed.) Cultural Politics in a global age. Oxford: Oneworld Publications.

BOURDIEU P. 1975. “The specificity of the scientific field and the social conditions of the progress of reason”, Social Science Information. 14(6) : 19-47.

COLLAÇO J. H. L. 2013. “Gastronomia: a trajetória de uma construção recente”, Habitus, 11(2) : 203-222, accessed 23 May 2017 : [].

ESPEITX E. 2004. “Patrimonio alimentario y turismo: una relación singular”, PASOS: revista de turismo y patrimonio cultural, 2(2) : 193-213, accessed 23 May 2017 : [].

GONÇALVES J. R. S. 2012. “As transformações do patrimônio: da retórica da perda à reconstrução permanente”, in I. M. Tamaso & M. F. Lima Filho (org.) Antropologia e patrimônio cultural: trajetórias e conceitos : 59-74. Brasília: Associação Brasileira de Antropologia.

GOODY J. 1982. Cooking, cuisine and class. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

HANNERZ U. 1997. “Fluxos, fronteiras, híbridos: palavras-chave da antropologia transnacional”, Mana, 3(1) : 7-39, accessed 23 May 2017 : [].

IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística). 2012. Economia do turismo: uma perspectiva macroeconômica: 2003-2009. Rio de Janeiro: IBGE.

MARUJO N. 2015. “Antropologia e Turismo: a importância da Antropologia nos cursos superiores de Turismo em Portugal”, RITUR – Revista Iberoamericana de Turismo, 5(2) : 44-60, accessed 14 September 2017 : [].

SAHLINS M. D. O. 1997. “‘Pessimismo sentimental’ e a experiência etnográfica: por que a cultura não é um ‘objeto’ em via de extinção (parte I)”, Mana, 1(3) : 41-150, accessed 23 May 2017 : [].

SANTANA A. 2009. Antropologia do Turismo: analogias, encontros e relações. São Paulo: Aleph.

SASSATELLI R. 2015. “Contestação e consumo alternativo: a moralidade política da comida”, Tessituras, 3(2) : 10-34, accessed 23 May 2017 : [].

SEN A. K. 2007. “Culture and captivity”, in D. Held & H. L. Moore (ed.) Cultural Politics in a global age. Oxford: Oneworld Publications.

TRENTMANN F. 2006. The modern genealogy of the consumer: meanings, identities and political synapses. In: BREWER, J. & TRENTMANN, F. (Org.) Consuming cultures, global perspectives. Historical trajectories, transnational exchanges. Oxford: Berg.

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Annex 1: Acronyms of institutions.

Credit: the authors

Annex 2: Qualis Periódicos evaluation (in 2016) of each selected journal at each Evaluation Area; basic information about the journals (first number date, institutional bond and country of origin); and number of articles on tourism and gastronomy with at least one author linked to a Brazilian institution.

Credit: the authors.

Annex 3: List of all the analysed articles.

Credit: the authors.

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1 Considering only journals that are specialized in tourism studies, we abandon the dependence on a specific indexing database and focus the analysis on one scientific subfield, that of Brazilian tourism studies. In addition, our preference for the open access journals reflects the Brazilian scientific culture, in which the vast majority of scientific activities and data are publicly available. This last choice does not weaken the analytical scope of our proposal, since in a pre-analysis we found that only one article (in a universe of 79) was out of our range. Seventy-eight were included in the analysis, which reinforces this feature of Brazilian scientific culture, especially in the area of Humanities, which is less committed to the market.

2 In Brazil, a scoring system known as “Qualis Periódicos” evaluates the scientific journals in which authors linked to Brazilian institutions have published articles, indirectly evaluating the quality of their production. An author’s visibility and credibility – and, consequently, the financial support he or she receives from public or private institutions, or even to stay in a graduate program as student or professor – may depend, among other things, on the quality of the journals in which he or she publishes his or her papers.

3 In Brazil, we have only 11 graduate programs in tourism studies (4 master’s programs, 3 professional master’s programs, and 4 programs with doctoral and master’s degrees) among 189 acknowledged and evaluated by the government as belonging to a single scientific field, that of ‘Business and Public Administration, Accounting Sciences, and Tourism’. Data available at: []. Accessed in: May 2017.

4 We provide an ‘overview’ because we do not intend to write a dense literature review, since we are dealing with 78 articles from several matrices, and because we developed this research in the period of 6 months, aiming at maintaining the importance and the ‘freshness’ of the data.

5 Evaluation criteria available for consultation at: [].

6 Except for the journals linked to strictu sensu graduate programs recognized by CAPES. Exception that we applied according to the legitimacy of their editorial bodies and the quality of the articles.

7 One can access Plataforma Sucupira at the following address: [].

8 According to CAPES (2017), which is linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC), the College of Humanities contemplates three “Great areas” of scientific knowledge, in which eight disciplinary evaluation areas have considered at least one journal on tourism studies:

“Human Sciences” ― “Anthropology and Archeology” [1]; “History” [2]; “Geography” [3]; “Political Science and International Relations” [4]; “Sociology” [5]);

“Applied Social Sciences” ― “Communication and Information” [6]; “Economic Sciences” [7]; “Business and Public Administration, Accounting Sciences, and Tourism” [8];

“Linguistic, Languages and Arts” ― none.

9 Regarding this methodological choice, we must do two considerations: (1) more possibilities would make that many articles that only mention the gastronomy (or related terms) contaminate the research; (2) some of the articles that we should consider in this research were lost due to indexing failures and search engine limitations.

10 Registration in Currículo Lattes, which is the curriculum system of CNPq, is mandatory for any scholar of a Brazilian graduate program. Website address: .

11 The first special thematic issue, entitled Tourism and Gastronomy, was published in 2012, and comprised 3 articles from at least one author linked to a Brazilian Institution. Maria Henriqueta S. G. Gimenes-Minasse and Rosana Peccini organized the first and the second special thematic issue, which was also entitled Tourism and Gastronomy. It was published in 2013, and comprised 5 articles.

12 The special thematic issue on Wine tourism, organized by Miguel Bahl and Vander Valduga, in 2014, that comprises 6 articles.

13 Distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice.

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List of illustrations

Title Graphic 1: Total of articles published per year in the period from 2007 to 2016.
Credits Credit: the authors.
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Title Graphic 2: History of publications on the theme in journals that published at least 1 article per year from 2012 to 2016.
Credits Credit: the authors.
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Title Table 1: Total articles per author and period of publication.
Credits Credit: the authors.
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Title Table 2: Influence of scientific fields in the academic background of the 12 main authors
Credits Credit: the authors.
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Title Graphic 3: Distribution of articles per type of research.
Credits Credit: the authors
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Title Graphic 4: Main theoretical-discursive perspectives (2 per article)
Credits Credit: the authors
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Title Graphic 5: Tag cloud of the keywords (minimum occurrence = 4 > 5%).
Credits Credit: the authors
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Electronic reference

Filipe Augusto Couto Barbosa and Janine Helfst Leicht Collaço, Eating identities and placesAnthropology of food [Online], 13 | 2018, Online since 21 January 2019, connection on 24 March 2023. URL:; DOI:

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About the authors

Filipe Augusto Couto Barbosa

Université Fédérale de Goiás (UFG), Brésil, École des Sciences Sociales, Groupe d’étude sur la consommation, la culture et l’alimentation,

Janine Helfst Leicht Collaço

Université Fédérale de Goiás (UFG), Brésil, École des Sciences Sociales, Groupe d’étude sur la consommation, la culture et l’alimentation,

By this author

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