Veganların Sosyal Etkileşimleri: Benlik Sunumu ve Vegafobiyle Mücadele Stratejileri
Uzbay Ülgen, Mukaddes
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In this thesis, the social interactions of vegans with non-vegans are examined, based on the idea that veganism is considered a deviation from social norms in a carnist and speciesist society, and therefore vegans have stigmatized identities. The aim of this examination is to gain information about the reactions given to vegans, and to discuss the effect of these reactions on their self-presentation. To this end, we designed a qualitative study within a social constructionist worldview; gathered the data using the (online and face-to-face) in-depth interview technique. We used MAXQDA 2022 software in the data analysis process, and we interpreted the data through social psychology studies and Erving Goffman's dramaturgical approach and his concept of stigma. We interviewed a total of eighteen participants from seven cities in Turkey and one city in North Cyprus. We observed that vegans encounter predominantly adverse reactions in their interactions with non-vegans. We interpreted these reactions, which we named vegaphobic, with the help of social psychology studies. We discuss these reactions in detail, which we sorted under the themes of perceiving veganism as a threat to identity, reactions to invalidate and devalue veganism, attempts to discourage vegans from being vegan, and verbal and physical aggression towards vegans. We claimed that some of these adverse reactions are stemmed from the fact that non-vegans perceive veganism as a threat to their identities. We draw attention to the prevalent vegaphobia and problematize the fact that the prejudices against vegans are not recognized as a problem like other types of discrimination and are considered normal. Afterwards, we discussed how these reactions affect self-presentation of vegans. We interpreted these presentations, which we claim to be affected by the anticipation of vegaphobia and the desire to avoid it, in accordance with Goffman’s main terms regarding interactions like impression management and face-saving strategies. The aim to avoid vegaphobia manifest in different ways such as a personal and interpersonal desire (the avoidance of being identified with stereotypes, the effort to render smooth interactions), and as a desire to change non-vegan’s perception of veganism (trying to break the stereotypes). This study claims that self-presentations of vegans are predominantly in line with the behaviours that vegans expect non-vegans to perceive as “reasonable” and especially vegans who avoid interpersonal conflict prefer not to be involved in animal liberation activism in order to evade vegaphobic reactions. Therefore, we argue that prevalent vegaphobia has an adverse effect on the animal liberation activism.