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Vegan stories: revealing archetypes and their moral foundations

Julie Napoli (School of Marketing, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Robyn Ouschan (School of Marketing, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 6 February 2020

Issue publication date: 20 March 2020




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.


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.


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.


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.



Napoli, J. and Ouschan, R. (2020), "Vegan stories: revealing archetypes and their moral foundations", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 145-169.



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