Veganized: How Cultural Entrepreneurs Mainstreamed a Movement
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CitationGheihman, Nina. 2020. Veganized: How Cultural Entrepreneurs Mainstreamed a Movement. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractIn the last few years, veganism transformed from a marginalized animal rights movement into a mainstream lifestyle. This shift occurred through the promotional work of change agents called cultural entrepreneurs. Drawing on over 150 interviews with these movement leaders, I describe three archetypes that emerged inductively from the analysis: Icons (image entrepreneurs), Informers (knowledge entrepreneurs), and Innovators (market entrepreneurs). Collectively, cultural entrepreneurs sacrifice ideological purity in pursuit of popularity. However, they are both enabled and constrained by the national contexts in which they are embedded. I compare the United States with two “shadow cases” that represent barriers to (France) and openings for (Israel) cultural diffusion. In both cases, veganism is tightly coupled with animal rights, which paradoxically stalls the movement in France, but fuels it in Israel. These divergent outcomes are explained by how the national contexts mediate veganism via the sociohistorical, cultural, and movement-specific conditions in each country. While mainstreaming broadens appeal, the process involves tradeoffs, specifically between boundary expansion versus porousness, cultural legitimation versus elitism, and incumbent allies versus cooptation. The dissertation brings together theoretical insights from classic literature on social movements and status, emerging literature on lifestyle movements and consumption, and organizational literature on cultural entrepreneurship to explain how an ideology- based social movement transforms into a consumption-based lifestyle movement. The tradeoffs cultural entrepreneurs make compromise the movement’s ideological core, but ultimately represent their attempts to broaden the societal acceptance of veganism both nationally and beyond.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365705
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