Eläinten puolustajat : suomalaisen eläinoikeusaktivismin muuttuva poliittinen tyyli ja toiseus
Julkaistu sarjassaJyväskylä studies in education, psychology and social research
This study examines animal rights activism in Finland. Since 1995, when the first public acts of animal liberation in Finland took place, animal rights activists have made up one of the most debated Finnish social movements. In this research, I study animal rights activism as a phenomenon and as a form of political action. The study approaches the issue by applying the concepts of political style and cultural othering as analytical tools. The study is empirical and bases its analysis on qualitative methodology, especially content analysis. I interviewed activists in 2000-2002 and again in 2015. I have also done observation at demonstrations as well as some campaign analysis. In the five articles, I analyse activism from various perspectives. In the early days of the movement, animal rights activism was almost invariably seen as a form of terrorism, and the political issues which the activists attempted to raise were not covered in public discussions. The activists were seen as urban youngsters who did not understand what they were doing. The presumed gender and age of the activists were used as narratives to justify their othering. On the basis of this representation, the activists were dismissed as non-serious political actors. In late 2007, animal rights activists managed to get videos and pictures, secretly taken on animal farms, screened on a national television programme. More recently activists have had several media breakthroughs with similar material, collected in what they call ‘investigation campaigns’. These picture and video campaigns have had a professional appearance. The activists have succeeded in changing their political style in a more discursive and strategic direction. As a result, their political agenda has gained much increased visibility. Most often, activists are no longer categorised as dangerous ‘others’. The study shows that the animal rights movement has not given up its original goals, but has become more capable in politicking its agenda to the public. It has also been given more space to communicate its vision. Activists have succeeded in the politicisation process and they are successfully campaigning on animal rights issues.
JulkaisijaUniversity of Jyväskylä
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