Who Cares?: Women, Emotion, and Bodies in Animal Activism

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Wallis, Allison




This thesis uses a critical feminist lens to examine the role of gender in shaping animal rights (AR) activism in North America. It draws on the content of eight semi-structured interviews conducted with AR activists who live in a mid-sized Canadian city. I argue that North American AR activism is a feminized space within the public sphere, by virtue of the emotional labour of care that characterizes it. This community of mostly white, female AR activists reflects a dominant patriarchal hierarchy of legitimate knowledges. Insofar as we are a society constrained by gender, the women use strategies of activism that draw on their bodies and emotions which, within the gendered constraints of society, are acceptably female forms of knowledge and expression. They experience corporeal effects, observable in high rates of burnout and PTSD among activists, and through exclusions of bodies through the practices of veganism and nude activism.






Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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