Emotions and Ethics through Vegan Movement

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Francesca MININNI, University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
Why are human-animal relation and vegan movement ignored in Sociology? Social thought has tended to emphasize the idea that animals are outside the human boundary and the notion of “animals-as-other” is reflected in many walks of life: the worst is the acceptance of animals as a source of food. Escaping to a relationship of closeness, humanity has suppressed the emotional connection that accompanies the killing of another creature and mystifying perceptions about animals, we deny the identification with them and empathy. However, vegan movement has an emotional dimension that extends beyond diet to preclude the human use of any animal-based products; particular attention will be focused on the dimension of emotions and ethics which are the main driving force for those who decide to opt for veganism.

What justifies the relevance of this analysis is the perspective of the adoption of veganism as a driving force that leads social actors to question what is “taken for granted” and their emotions towards animals and other humans. Vegans literally embody the resistance to the assertiveness of meatist culture and also lead to a reflection on the consumption of animals: the movement promotes new meanings of food and of the relationship between humans and animals, making humans closer to compassion and empathy. The meaning of vegan movement is associated with the rejection of the speciesist privilege and the construction of new habits, to collaboration and participation, to the shaping of empathy-based social networks.

Vegans are like a deconstructed social movement still maintaining a powerful, unifying ideology which deserves recognition and attention. It does not have any specific opponent but it is based on solidarity and it is able to act with forms of participation and collective action aiming at radical change. With the present research, we will try to give them voice.