Publication details [#70392]

Hughes, Neil. 2021. Exploring vegan ideology through graffiti slogans. Discourse & Society 32 (5) : 575–597.
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This article is a study of a sample of eighteen animal rights graffiti slogans that were chalked on the walls of a tunnel known as Potterow Port near the main University of Edinburgh campus, in Scotland, in February 2020. The purpose of the article is to interrogate the implicit ideological commitments underpinning the graffiti slogans, the rhetorical aims of their authors and the linguistic devices and structures they used to achieve their goals. These three dimensions of the slogans are analysed using an inter-disciplinary framework inspired by work on discourse and ideology, recent studies of graffiti slogans in protest contexts and important contributions to the animal rights canon. Regarding the ideological underpinnings of the slogans, the study reveals four core concepts that it argues are central to contemporary vegan thought: the speciesist relationship between human and non-human animals; species egalitarianism; the vegan imperative; and a commitment to non-violent direct action. In addition to these core beliefs, it detects the presence in the slogans of adherence to adjacent values and ideals such as love, compassion and respect for life, attempts to thicken vegan ideology by reaching out to environmentalism and the peace movement and tension around the moral basis for adopting vegan practices. The interconnected conceptual map that lies at the heart of contemporary veganism has emerged, it argues, in response to ‘dislocations’ in human/animal relations and within the animal advocacy movement, between advocates of a welfarist response to animal exploitation and those such as the authors of the graffiti slogans committed to a more radical, vegan inspired solution to animal oppression.