“You Have Blood On Your Lips” — Experiencing and Articulating Animal-Related Violence in Veganism
Keywords:veganism, human-animal relationship, proximity-distance, image, symbolic-structural violence
This article outlines critical research perspectives on the human-animal relationship. It uses exemplary analyses of empirical data collected through qualitative interviews with vegans to shed light on how they perceive certain ways of treating animals as violent practices. The analysis in this article focuses on the functions and effects of language, not only in terms of its role in maintaining existing carnivorous structures and practices, but also in terms of dynamic processes and potentials for change. This approach presupposes a notion of structural and symbolic violence. Specifically, this study examines how the vegan research partners perceive, experience, and articulate carnivorous dietary and consumption practices as violence against so-called farm animals. The analysis shows that images are highly significant, namely in the context of figurative language, when talking about images and with regard to one’s own iconic imaginaries. The (linguistically co-determined) construction of closeness to and distance from the animal product offers important insights into the socio-cultural and psycho-social dimensions of an animal-related “vegan” understanding of violence and harm.