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Veganism’s Anti-Anthropocentric Capacity. A Critical Analysis of the Advocacy Discourse of Three Prominent Vegan Organisations

Louis Arthur Gough


Anthropocentrism has been identified as a root cause of nonhuman animal and intrahuman oppressions and the environmental crisis. Veganism has been celebrated as a philosophy and practice capable of undermining anthropocentrism, yet the anti-anthropocentric capacity of vegan advocacy is understudied. The current research provides a critical analysis of the online advocacy discourse of three prominent vegan organisations – The Vegan Society, PETA, and Viva! – elucidating areas of anthropocentric reinforcement and subversion in correspondence to the conceptual characteristics of anthropocentrism: human-centred narcissism and exceptionalism, the perceived human/animal dichotomy, and a corresponding moral hierarchy that exalts particular understandings of the “human” to the detriment of all considered other-than (Calarco 2014). Given the interconnectedness of nonhuman and human oppressions and importance of decentring the anthropocentric conception of the “human”, the intersectional strengths and shortcomings of the organisations’ vegan advocacy is additionally considered, with many areas of needed improvement being highlighted. The article contributes to research on vegan/nonhuman animal rights advocacy and social movement communication, and facilitates the future production of anti-anthropocentric, intersectional, vegan advocacy campaigns.


advocacy; animal rights; anthropocentrism; discourse analysis; intersectionality; nonhuman animals; online; oppression; social movements; veganism.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2023-01-goul

Copyright (©) 2023 Louis Arthur Gough – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (04/05/2012 n. 211)
Online ISSN 2280-9643 - Print ISSN 2283-3196

Executive Editor: Francesco Allegri
Associate Editor: Matteo Andreozzi 
Review Editors: Sofia Bonicalzi - Eleonora Adorni
Editorial Board:
Ralph R. Acampora - Carol J. Adams - Vilma Baricalla - Luisella Battaglia - Rod Bennison - Matthew R. Calarco - Piergiorgio Donatelli - William Grove-Fanning - Serenella Iovino - Luigi Lombardi Vallauri - Christoph Lumer - Joel MacClellan - Dario Martinelli - Roberto Marchesini - Alma Massaro - Serpil Oppermann - Simone Pollo - Paola Sobbrio - Kim Stallwood - Sabrina Tonutti - Jessica Ullrich - Federico Zuolo

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