Vegan stories: revealing archetypes and their moral foundations
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Purpose: This study aims to identify the archetypes, moral foundations and plots associated with veganism through the stories told by vegan bloggers and the effect on mainstreaming of this ideology.
Design/methodology/approach: Narrative data was collected from 15 publicly available vegan blogs. Underlying archetypes, morals and story plots were identified and presented as a “story re-told,” highlighting the context and content of what was being said by the protagonists and associated meanings.
Findings: The analysis revealed three moral foundations on which vegan ideology is built: sanctity of life, enacting the authentic self and freedom. A universal hero archetype was also unearthed; however, the moral orientation of the storyteller (agency vs communal) dictated how these morals and archetypes were expressed.
Research limitations/implications: Through the use of common story archetypes, master plots and moral foundations, a deeper understanding of vegans and the choices they make is facilitated, thus making vegan ideology appear less threatening. Storytelling plays an important role in establishing connections through commonality.
Originality/value: This study applies cultivation theory, storytelling analysis and archetype theory to reveal how vegan bloggers counteract mass media cultivation of vegan stereotypes through the stories they tell. We offer a more robust description of vegans, moving beyond stereotypes, and the morals driving behavior. Moreover, a unique mechanism of mainstreaming is exposed that shows vegans connect with people by tapping into universal archetypes and morals that anyone can relate to and relive.
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