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Big Animal Rights and the Nonprofit Revolution

Wrenn, Corey (2019) Big Animal Rights and the Nonprofit Revolution. In: 6th Conference of the European Association for Critical Animal Studies (EACAS), 22-24 May 2019, Barcelona, Spain. (Unpublished)


In the 1970s, professionalization emerged as a new and cemented form of advocacy in the Western social movement arena which can be traced to the state’s encroachment on grassroots resistance. In this paper, the rising bloc of professionalized organizations is identified as powerful structural component in the nonhuman animal rights movement given its ability to cultivate a movement hegemony that protects and grows organizational wealth and elite interests. As they must compete for resources in a crowded social movement arena, this hegemony entails organizational cooperation that privileges a compromised approach and the marginalization of those considered too radical. To that effect, I highlight the prioritization of moderation across the movement and the focus on fundraising as important shifts in the animal rights movement. Indeed, this new neoliberal movement structure has great potential to disrupt democratic processes and stunt social movement innovation. There are a number of tactics associated with professionalized organizations which solidify their power to the detriment of disadvantaged grassroots entities. This paper examines the tendency for powerful organizations to erase competition through a code of silence. This happens by denying the relevance, importance, or even existence of factional disagreements in the movement. Professionalized organizations also engage symbol mining by appropriating the tactics, images, and meanings created by radical actors as they find resonance, thus undermining radical effectiveness in the social movement arena. A number of key symbols under dispute are examined, such as the meaning, relevance, and application of veganism, intersectionality, and direct action. The Animal Rights National Conference, held each year in the United States since 1981 offers insight to these processes, existing as one of the few visible spaces where power is replicated and radical protest quelled.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Speech)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Sociology
Depositing User: Corey Wrenn
Date Deposited: 28 May 2019 08:55 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 07:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Wrenn, Corey:
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