Institutional Change in Toque Ville: Nouvelle Cuisine as an Identity Movement in French Gastronomy

H. Rao, P. Monin, R. DURAND

American Journal of Sociology

2003, vol. 108, n°4, pp.795-843

Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

A challenge facing cultural-frame institutionalism is to explain how existing institutional logics and role identities are replaced by new logics and role identities. This article depicts identity movements that strive to expand individual autonomy as motors of institutional change. It proposes that the sociopolitical legitimacy of activists, extent of theorization of new roles, prior defections by peers to the new logic, and gains to prior defectors act as identity-discrepant cues that induce actors to abandon traditional logics and role identities for new logics and role identities. A study of how the nouvelle cuisine movement in France led elite chefs to abandon classical cuisine during the period starting from 1970 and ending in 1997 provides wide-ranging support for these arguments. Implications for research on institutional change, social movements, and social identity are outlined