Pride and Burden: The Quest for Consistency in the Anti-Speciesist Movement

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 University of Bologna, Italy

Abstract

This article draws on 22 interviews with Italian anti-speciesists to develop a sociological account of the quest for ethical consistency in the animal rights movement. The essay analyzes three relevant consequences of the search for consistency—identity extension, social segregation, and self-transformation—and discusses their impact on the activists’ lives. Consistency appears as both a source of self-gratification and a burden. On the one hand, self-gratification results from a sense of moral pride and the certainty of fighting for a just cause. On the other hand, the pursuit of a consistent lifestyle is highly demanding in terms of time and energy, and can have negative effects on the activist’s relationships with family and peers. While the paper adopts an individual-level perspective, it also examines how the findings might relate to vegan mobilization. It is argued that the findings might be generalizable to activists in other countries who face similar challenges.

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