Literature on social movements increasingly identifies everyday life as significant to understand political practices and activism. However, scholars have retained a major bias towards movement mobilisation and collective action, often relegating the everyday at the margins of social movements. While there have been notable exceptions, with studies of prefigurative activism and everyday practices of social change, they have usually focussed on alternative community spaces such as autonomous social centres and protest camps, and paid less attention to “ordinary” practices and spaces of activism. The purpose of this paper is to address these problems by suggesting that everyday life may be central to the production of activist spaces and the action of social movements.
Drawing upon ethnography methods, interviews with vegan activists, an on-line survey of supporters of vegan movements and an examination of on-line vegan forums, it seeks to analyse the practices of the vegan movement in France.
This paper attempts to demonstrate that prefigurative activism and seemingly banal practices may be central to strategies for social change. Drawing on an anarchist perspective on activism, it further suggests that activism and everyday life should not be studied in isolation from each other but as mutually constitutive in the creation of everyday alternative spaces – hemeratopias.
This paper adds to the literature on activism and social movements by offering a more complex picture of the spatial politics at work in social movements and a better understanding of individual action and mobilisation.
The author wants to thank Richard J. White, Patricia Woods, Simon Springer and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and gracious encouragements. All remaining errors are the author’s own.
Ophélie, V. (2016), "(Extra)ordinary activism: veganism and the shaping of hemeratopias", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 36 No. 11/12, pp. 756-773. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-12-2015-0137Download as .RIS
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