Jesper Alkarp

PhD student

My research explores the application of intellectual property law on food production and foodways. I have a particular interest in geographical indications and collective trademarks and how they relate to materiality, territorialisation, and value.


My research is concerned with the ways in which food becomes intellectual property (IP), and the implications food-as-IP has on our relationship to the food that we eat, gift, share, or waste.

The dissertation examines the local implementation of international trade agreements and investigates the socio-legal conditions of South Korean beef production and consumption. I look at the role of collective trademarks as signs through which protected foodstuff materialises social imaginaries and actualizes place, origin, and authenticity. 


In my research I draw on legal and economic anthropological theory to approach food as property and consumable goods; gift exchange and sociality; place and space making; and – more broadly – the anthropology of intellectual property.


I received my MA in anthropology from Uppsala University (2018) and I have a regional ethnographic interest in South Korea where I have been a visiting student at Yonsei University, Seoul (2013-2014, 2016). I have previously worked as a research assistant in the project The Swedish Patent Database 1746-1975 (Uppsala University 2019-2021).