Academic Absurdity of the Week: The Coming Vegankampf

Really, I don’t mean to pick on vegans relentlessly. I actually know a couple of conservative vegans, and hey, if you want to deprive yourself of tasty animals, it’s a free country. But of course there are the other kind of vegans who, following most leftist enthusiasms, would like to make it mandatory for everyone.

The first step is integrating veganism fully into the current mode of identity politics, thus providing a pretext for Bruce Springstein to boycott cattle-ranching states or something. Behold this Ph.D abstract from Durham University:

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.

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.

Now, if you’re wanting to rush off and read the whole thing, you can’t. There’s this little headnote attached to the abstract:

Full text not available from this repository. Author-imposed embargo until 23 March 2020.

You’ll just have to contain your disappointment. And mark your calendar for 23 March 2020.

Oh, and “Critical Animal Studies”? I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.


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