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Conference Papers Year : 2022

Vegans and non-vegans influences: A social identity approach to vegan outcomes


Extended abstract: From a marketing perspective, veg*ism is a relevant segment for the food industry which needs to be better understood. Within this logic, scholars have focused on the constraints that veg*ns faced with non-veg*n family, friends, and society for maintaining the practice (Jabs et al., 1998; Twine, 2014). Some other studies have paid attention to how the community plays a role in maintaining the practice (Cherry, 2015) or progressing (Laakso et al., 2021) in the “vegetarian career” (Beardsworth & Keil, 1992). Eschewing animal foods is not only a food practice, it can be a marker of changing a person’s worldview (McDonald, 2000) and a shift in identity (Larsson et al., 2003). In this sense, veg*ism has also been studied as an identity (Fox & Ward, 2008; Jabs et al., 2000) with a social psychological approach through the social identity theory (SIT) (Bagci & Olgun, 2019; Plante et al., 2019; Rosenfeld & Burrow, 2017). In this regard, the simultaneous influences of the veg*n community (intra community) and non-veg*ns (extra community) on identity and behaviors have been overlooked. Thus, this paper aims to advance the research of veg*nism from a social-relational approach permitting us to understand the intra-community and extra-community influences on veg*n social identity and the outcomes related to the practice and social interactions. For attaining our objective, we performed two exploratory qualitative studies. In the first study, we analyzed 452 comments from the forum of the “Association Végétarienne de France”. This study highlights the practical and emotional support shared among members. Furthermore, it was identified the nature (diet, health, and motivations) of the microaggressions received by veg*ns from non-veg*ns. In the second study, we conducted 24 in-depth semi-structured interviews. The sample has 17 women and 7 men. Two waves of interviews were performed based on community engagement (10 low engagement participants and 14 high engagement participants). This study showed veg*nism as a marker of identity through the importance given to the practice, regards from others and themselves, and subjective bonds. Results also showed that this social identity may trigger two types of behavioral outcomes. In-role behaviors that are related to the practice itself (maintaining, cheating, and progressing). Extra-role behaviors that are related to defending their identity (talking positively about the practice, educational behaviors, and militant actions). Our results advance the understanding of veg*ns in three manners. First, we propose that veg*ns are a multi-community, where an individual can move from the community of practice (intra-community) to the community of belief (veg*n social identity). The passage is presented by two levels the relational and the individual. The first is characterized by the social support received from the intra-community. The second is the community that lives in the person’s thoughts and feelings about the practice. Second, previous research has focused on the cognitive and evaluative aspects of the social identity of veg*ns (Rosenfeld and Burrow, (2017) but our results have shown the importance of the emotional component for the construction of a veg*n social identity. In this sense, the motivations and convictions shared among veg*ns are the markers of the emotional component (subjective bonds) of their social identity. Third, this research highlights the in-role behaviors (practice) and extra-role behaviors (identity defense) (Elbedweihy & Jayawardhena, 2014) used by veg*n to perform their social identity. These behaviors have the objective of establishing and maintaining a positive veg*n social identity.
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hal-03685365 , version 1 (02-06-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03685365 , version 1


Erick Suarez Dominguez, Gilles Séré de Lanauze, Lucie Sirieix. Vegans and non-vegans influences: A social identity approach to vegan outcomes. 38ème Congrès international de l'Association Française du Marketing (AFM), Association Française du Marketing (AFM); Institut des Hautes Études Commerciales de Carthage (IHEC Carthage); Institut Supérieur de Comptabilité et d'Administration des Entreprises (ISCAE); Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Gestion Université-Entreprise (LIGUE), May 2022, Tunis, Tunisia. ⟨hal-03685365⟩
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