How Vegan Sociology Informs Empathetic Peer Review

On March 8th, 2021, the International Association of Vegan Sociologists collaborated with the Canadian Sociological Association and the British Sociological Association to present a panel on the peer-review process. Panelists included Dr. Corey Wrenn (University of Kent), Dr. Matthew Cole (Open University) and Dr. Rochelle Stevenson (Thompson Rivers University)

Although we originally intended this webinar to train our student editorial board for our Student Journal of Vegan Sociology, we quickly realized that this sort of training is generally lacking for many graduate students and early career sociologists. Vegan sociology is uniquely positioned to unpack the politics of peer-review. Many vegan sociologists are informed by a deep empathy for others and a dedication to compassionate communication. These ethics of care may be lacking in mainstream sociological discourses, perhaps a result of sociology’s empirical, objective, and masculine legacy.

In this webinar, the panelists emphasize that peer-review should be a collaborative effort. It should be seen as an opportunity to develop our growing field in an authentic, and mutually-beneficial way. In fields like vegan sociology, the research has important practical implications for highly oppressed populations. Therefore, it is important to also hold authors up to standard. Research must be sound to be most useful to other animals and to bring credibility to our field.

 

Tips for effective peer-review:

  • Consider your qualifications before committing
  • Commit to a reasonably quick turnaround
  • Recuse yourself if there are conflicts of interest
  • Assess the author’s command over the literature, counterarguments, methodology
  • Do not overwhelm the author with too many demands at once
  • Offer criticisms only when you have read carefully
  • Offer solutions
  • Highlight the strengths of the paper
  • Recap the core argument
  • Check your feelings; make sure you are feeling positive and well-rested
  • Be warm and respectful
  • Be kind, but also be rigorous
  • For every limitation, find a strength
  • Imagine yourself as the recipient
  • Commit between 1-3 hours for review

 

What is Vegan Sociology?

 

To celebrate our 1 year anniversary and the upcoming 2nd annual meeting of the International Association of Vegan Sociologists, we are compiling a short video montage featuring contributions from you to define and diversify our field.

Where does our field come from? Where is it going? What do you believe it can achieve? 

Please submit a few sentences or a short video clip explaining what vegan sociology means to you. 

Help us shape our discipline!

Submit to:
info@vegansociology.com

Pig-Ignorance: The Peppa Pig Paradox

Peppa Pig ham salad

Affiliate Member, Lynda Korimboccus, recently investigated attitudinal and behavioural contradictions that result in Peppa Pig fans oblivious to the direct connections between their favourite TV character and a ham salad sandwich.

The ‘Peppa Pig Paradox’ developed from Loughnan et al’s 2010 ‘meat paradox’ – that is, the idea that people say they love animals but also love eating animals. In many cases, people have simply been taught to categorise animals differently: as ‘food’ or as ‘pets’, for example. She aimed to apply this where the same species is considered in two contradictory ways: The Peppa Pig Paradox. She considers whether Peppa Pig simply reflects human society in pig form through anthropomorphism (Mills 2017); whether negative pig metaphors skew our views (Goatly 2006) and our use of the language we learn allows us to distance ourselves (Plous 1993); or whether it simply the application of denialism, or ‘strategic ignorance’ (Onwezen & van der Weele 2016) that has so far failed to make the connection impossible to ignore.

Lynda’s vegan daughter, Maya

The social influences upon us are strong and powerful – from family, peers and education through media, government and business – and we’d be forgiven for not seeing the obvious up until now. However, animal eating is a normalised practice at risk from an increase in plant-based eating and Lynda encourages vegan parents to become familiar with both moral and nutritional arguments for this in preparation for the inevitable challenges. She urges non-vegan parents to face their fear of change and embrace the plant-based revolution – not just for their children’s health, but their future environment as well as the lives of millions of non-human animals worldwide. Hopefully, all Peppa Pig fans will one day be vegan, but meantime, it’s vital to raise awareness of inconsistency and help others make connections to overcome their strategic, or ‘pig’ ignorance.

Full article (including references):
Korimboccus, L.M. (2020). ‘Pig-Ignorant: The Peppa Pig Paradox: Investigating Contradictory Childhood Consumption.’ Journal for Critical Animal Studies 17(5): 3-33.

 

Lynda M. Korimboccus is an affiliate member of the IAVS and serves as Student Editor-in-Chief for the Student Journal of Vegan Sociology.

Announcing Our New Guiding Principles and Student Journal

 

“Sociology is part of the seeing of other animals and, although still somewhat marginal to sociology, that sociological seeing is changing things in sociology. However, it is not just seeing other animals that should be a central component of sociology; the role of sociology in countering the oppression of other animals is also pertinent.”

– Kay Peggs, Animals and Sociology (Palgrave 2012)

 

Dear colleagues, 

We are so pleased to announce the release of our guiding principles. These were designed collaboratively by vegan sociologists the world over. We expect they will be useful for students, researchers, and regional sociological associations. 

We are also announcing the launch of our annual student journal. We’re currently seeking student (graduate and advanced undergraduate) volunteers for the editorial board as well as submissions by February of next year. We expect this will provide an important opportunity for service work, networking, and professional training. 

Episode 11 – Dr. Corey Wrenn June 29, 2020

In this epilogue, Dr. Wrenn summarizes the lessons learned from our ten guests with regard to institutional barriers, positive points on which new scholars might capitalize, and some concrete strategies for success. Dr. Wrenn also offers some her own personal experiences as a working-class girl from Appalachia with a passion for social justice. Yes, that’s a cat! Ms. Trudy makes a very vocal appearance. 

Dr. Wrenn is Lecturer of Sociology with the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Political Movements at the University of Kent. She served as council member with the American Sociological Association’s Animals & Society section (2013-2016), was elected Chair in 2018, and co-founded the International Association of Vegan Sociologists in 2020. She serves as Book Review Editor to Society & Animals and is a member of The Vegan Society’s Research Advisory Committee. In July 2013, she founded the Vegan Feminist Network, an academic-activist project engaging intersectional social justice praxis. She is the author of A Rational Approach to Animal Rights: Extensions in Abolitionist Theory (Palgrave MacMillan 2016), Piecemeal Protest: Animal Rights in the Age of Nonprofits (University of Michigan Press 2019), and Animals in Irish Society (SUNY Press 2021).

Listen here >>

Episode 10 – Dr. Roger Yates June 29, 2020

This episode discusses the possibilities of radical vegan sociology for activist-scholars. Dr. Yates also chats about some useful sociological theories such as critical theory, zemiology, green criminology, and phenomenology. Lastly, we consider how reading, conferences, and maintaining an online presence can be of benefit to research and job opportunities.

Dr. Roger Yates is a lecturer in sociology at University College Dublin and the University of Wales, specializing in animal rights. He is a former executive committee member of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), a former Animal Liberation Front (ALF) press officer, and a co-founder of the Fur Action Group. He currently runs the Vegan Information Project in Dublin and co-hosts Common Ground, an animal rights philosophy program. Dr. Yates was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in 1987 for conspiracy to commit criminal damage on behalf of the ALF. After his release in 1990, he began an academic study of animal protectionism and social movements, obtaining his PhD in 2005 on the subject of human/non-human relations. Dr. Yates maintains a blog on his web site, On Human Relations with Other Sentient Beings and was a leading contributor to Animal Rights Zone (ARZone). Dr. Roger Yates also maintains an active Youtube channel.

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Episode 9 – Dr. Nik Taylor June 29, 2020

This episode offers a deep conversation on the methodological future and theoretical past of the discipline. Dr. Taylor also discusses publication politics and the balance that scholars might seek to achieve with their pursuit of social justice-oriented research and a secure career.

Dr. Nik Taylor is a sociologist who researches human relationships with other species. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Services and Social Work at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. Taylor came to Animal Studies following years of volunteer work in animal shelters and in domestic violence service provision. She has worked at Universities in the UK (Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford, University of Edinburgh, and Oxford University), Australia (CQUniversity and Flinders) and New Zealand. Learn more about her work on her blogAcademia.edu, and ResearchGate.

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Episode 8 – Loredana Loy June 26, 2020

In this episode, we highlight the student experience. As we discuss how activists might realize their dream to be better advocates through sociological training, Loredana shares her unique path to animal studies from a nonprofit background in animal and environmental advocacy. She also offers insight on the importance of networking and using the growing interest in climate change as a platform for addressing speciesism. Loredana has been active with the ASA Animals & Society Section for a decade and operates the section newsletter and social media. She received her BS in Economics from the Romanian Academy Of Economic Studies, her MA in Sociology & Media from New York University, and is currently completing her PhD at Cornell University in Sociology. Her research interests include the politics of climate change, social movements, institutional discourse, organizations, and animals and society.

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Episode 7 – Dr. Kristof Dhont June 25, 2020

This episode covers the growth of animal studies in social psychology and spotlights emerging research, such as that investigating the “meat paradox” and vegan feminism. We also chat about some useful strategies for finding support in academia and getting your work recognized. Learn more about the upcoming Animal Advocacy Conference here.

Dr. Kristof Dhont is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Graduate Studies (Research) in the School of Psychology at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. He is the founder and director of SHARKLab, dedicated to the study human intergroup and human-animal relations. He currently serves as Associate Editor for the journal Group Processes & Intergroup Relations (GPIR) and as Consulting Editor for the European Journal of Personality (EJP). Kristof’s interests include the situational and personality factors that drive and sustain intergroup biases such as ethnic and gender-based prejudice as well as speciesism, with a special interest in social-ideological variables (e.g. social dominance orientation and authoritarianism) and identity-based processes. He investigates the factors shaping people’s perceptions and thinking about animals, the complexities and paradoxes in human-animal relations, and the moral psychology of eating and exploiting animals. You can learn more about this fascinating research in his 2020 book, Why We Love and Exploit Animals: Bridging Insights from Academia and Advocacy (Dhont & Hodson eds., Routledge).

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Episode 6 – Dr. David Nibert June 22, 2020

In this episode, Dr. Nibert shares his path to the field beginning in 1983 and the institutional barriers the subfield has faced through its formation to present day.

Professor David Nibert is a scholar/activist who teaches courses on animals and society, global injustice, the sociology of law, and social stratification. He has worked as a tenant organizer, as a community activist, and in the prevention of mistreatment and violence against devalued groups. He is the author of several books: Animal Oppression and Human Violence: DomesecrationCapitalism and Global Conflict (Columbia University Press); Animal Rights/Human Rights: Entanglements of Oppression and Liberation (Rowman/Littlefield) and a two-volume work titled Animal Oppression and Capitalism (Praeger Press).

For additional commentary on the importance of Nibert’s work, see this complementary video by sociologist Dr. Roger Yates.

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