Presentation Title

Understanding the Online Vegan Community: Common Themes in the Movement

Format of Presentation

15-minute lecture to be presented April 1, 2017

Location

IB 1015

Start Date

1-4-2017 4:45 PM

End Date

1-4-2017 5:00 PM

Abstract

In North America there are countless different diets and lifestyles revolving around food choices. What we choose to eat, or what we choose to avoid eating, can affect relationships with others as it can make people feel judged or insecure about their personal food preferences in comparison to others'. Vegans can often feel ostracized by their direct communities as their core beliefs are opposed with great force. Challenging the normalized belief system of eating animal products can make vegans feel unaccepted and anxious to find ways to feel a sense of belonging in society. Many choose the Internet as a safe place to acquire knowledge about vegan lifestyle as well as life advice for dealing with real world omnivores. The researcher chose fifteen different YouTube video diaries to examine in order to understand the online world of veganism. This ethnography found five major themes that emerged within the online vegan community: (1) Feelings of loss of community and personal relationships, (2) A sense of improved health, (3) A sense of moral alignment with actions, (4) A sense of remorse from past actions and, (5) A self-education about veganism. This thesis will examine the main themes that emerge from the vegan YouTube community and relate them to other social and minority movements.

Department

Interdisciplinary Studies

Faculty Advisor

Florriann Fehr

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Apr 1st, 4:45 PM Apr 1st, 5:00 PM

Understanding the Online Vegan Community: Common Themes in the Movement

IB 1015

In North America there are countless different diets and lifestyles revolving around food choices. What we choose to eat, or what we choose to avoid eating, can affect relationships with others as it can make people feel judged or insecure about their personal food preferences in comparison to others'. Vegans can often feel ostracized by their direct communities as their core beliefs are opposed with great force. Challenging the normalized belief system of eating animal products can make vegans feel unaccepted and anxious to find ways to feel a sense of belonging in society. Many choose the Internet as a safe place to acquire knowledge about vegan lifestyle as well as life advice for dealing with real world omnivores. The researcher chose fifteen different YouTube video diaries to examine in order to understand the online world of veganism. This ethnography found five major themes that emerged within the online vegan community: (1) Feelings of loss of community and personal relationships, (2) A sense of improved health, (3) A sense of moral alignment with actions, (4) A sense of remorse from past actions and, (5) A self-education about veganism. This thesis will examine the main themes that emerge from the vegan YouTube community and relate them to other social and minority movements.