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Title: Queering veganism : a biographical, visual and autoethnographic study of animal advocacy
Author: Griffin, Nathan David Stephens
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 3505
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2015
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available