Institutionalization of ethnicities: market catalysts and inhibitors between entrepreneurship and colonization
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Previous literature has shown that in omnivorous and cosmopolite markets, ethnic cuisines are institutionalized through discourses that create legitimacy through the relationship with ethnicity and its Otherness. However, in a developing country context, whose foodscape is deeply rooted in the logics of colonization and where infrastructure challenges abound, the role of institutional entrepreneurs, which are local actors engaged in change is prominent. We present the institutionalization process of the typical Amazon-rainforest cuisine in the more diverse and cosmopolite urban centers in Brazil. Our data comes from ethnographic observations, secondary data research and in depth interviews with chefs, activists and farmers. Our results inform that the process of institutionalization is affected by a lack of coherent discourse among the different institutional entrepreneurs, who engage in disputes that involve cultural appropriation and sustainable development, refraining legitimacy and institutionalization.