Overcoming (vegan) burnout: Mass gatherings can provide respite and rekindle shared identity and social action efforts in moralized minority groups

Annayah Prosser, Saffron O'Neill, Lorraine Whitmarsh, Jan Willem Bolderdijk, Tim Kurz, Leda Blackwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Moralized minority actors can play important roles in social change processes by rejecting majority social norms and modeling alternative societal pathways. However, being a minority actor can be difficult, often resulting in stigma, derogation, and hostility from the majority group. For actions intrinsically linked with daily life (e.g., eating), such social obstacles might become so great that individuals acting alone experience activist burnout' and social isolation, and may stop pursuing social change altogether. Event-based interventions are a promising (yet currently understudied) avenue for ameliorating these negative consequences and maintaining minority-driven social change. Through on-site field interviews (N = 20), we explore how attending an identity-centering mass gathering (“The Vegan Campout”) acts to validate and empower a minority group (vegans) seeking social change. We show how the event functioned as a space where vegan identity, food, and action were centered and celebrated, in stark contrast to vegans' experiences of a majority meat-eating society, where they often experienced negativity. Experiencing a 'temporary social majority' context provided important respite for vegans to gain strength, rekindle their vegan identities, and (re)affirm their commitment to activism. Our findings provide insight into the benefits of identity-centering events for sustaining social change efforts among moralized minority groups.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • The Vegan Campout
  • burnout
  • events
  • festivals
  • identity
  • mass-gatherings
  • moralized minority groups
  • social action
  • social change
  • veganism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Social Psychology
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science

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