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    Enough on their plates? Understanding the experience of vegan parenting in a non-vegan world

    Ryley, Alice (2024) Enough on their plates? Understanding the experience of vegan parenting in a non-vegan world. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Veganism is a way of life that seeks to exclude all animal products where possible. Associated with the lifestyle are possible health benefits and a reduction in the environmental impacts caused by animal husbandry. Studies to date have explored the experiences of vegan adults, largely focussing on motivations, barriers to uptake, and the expression of vegan identity. Some research has also examined how vegans are perceived by non-vegans, and to what degree resistance to the lifestyle exists. However, experiential research with vegans remains scarce and there are very few studies that detail what it is like to raise children in a vegan family. How veganism is experienced within a society that normalises meat eating – the ‘non-vegan world’ – also remains unexplored. This study therefore examines how a group of twelve vegan mothers experience child-rearing in a non-vegan world. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the women, and the transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA). The women’s experiences are presented across three empirical chapters. The first provides an in-depth analysis of each mother’s lived experience, from which five key themes emerged. These themes encapsulate the context of the non-vegan world; the decision-making processes involved in raising vegan children; how identity is constructed as a vegan parent; the impact of vegan parenting on self-concept; how social integration takes place between vegans and non-vegans. The second chapter presents a deeper analysis of one of the original themes, using the concept of the lifeworld to gain closer proximity to the meaning-making processes the women go through in their everyday lives. The final chapter introduces FDA to explore the discursive context within which the women’s experience takes place, offering insights into the impact of power relations between vegans and non-vegans. Findings demonstrate that a key feature of the women’s experience relates to how far they and their children are able to participate socially in a non-vegan world. The rise in vegan-friendly products and meat substitutes provides convenience, and supports with the practical elements of the lifestyle. However, concerns around the impact of veganism on a child’s social integration may be a prohibitive factor for families to commit fully to a vegan lifestyle.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 03 May 2024 13:57
    Last Modified: 03 May 2024 15:27


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