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Queering Veganism: A Biographical, Visual and Autoethnographic Study of Animal Advocacy.

GRIFFIN, NATHAN,DAVID,STEPHENS (2015) Queering Veganism: A Biographical, Visual and Autoethnographic Study of Animal Advocacy. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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I am vegan. This means I eschew animal products (such as meat, dairy and eggs) for ethical reasons. Academic interest in animal advocacy is expanding, as evidenced in the emerging field of Critical Animal Studies (Taylor and Twine, 2014). However, concurrent with a ‘criminalization’ of legitimate protest since 9/11 (Gilmore, 2013), empirical research suggests a tendency for mainstream media sources to ridicule, misrepresent and discredit vegans (Cole and Morgan, 2011). I examine the events and experiences that have been significant in shaping the biographies of vegan animal advocates. I use biographical interviews with twelve (12) vegans alongside visual methods, and autoethnography. Participants created comics -the narrative juxtaposition of words and images- about their lives, and I created an ‘autoethnographic’ comic about my biography as a vegan researcher, thus examining animal advocacy from a reflexive, situated vegan perspective. I found that vegan identity is often subject to normalizing processes (Foucault, 1977), and is necessarily fluid across social situations (as evidenced in descriptions of ‘coming out’ vegan). Vegan identity is performed and achieved in various embodied ways. These processes intersect with other social structures such as gender and sexuality. Access to cultural narratives about veganism is also significant in the experience of participants. The project contributes to the diverse fields of Biographical Research and Critical Animal Studies, adding rich biographical and visual data to existing empirical evidence around animal advocacy. It sets a precedent for the potential use of comics in research, particularly in connection with queer methodological approaches that challenge existing representational forms and focus on fluidity. It also offers novel applications for autoethnographic and visual biographical approaches.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:vegan, veganism, critical animal studies, animal rights, animal advocacy, activism, comics, visual methods, graphic novel, biography, autobiography, biographical research, narrative, autoethnography,
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:23 Mar 2015 12:57

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