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Passionate PoliticsEmotions and Social Movements$
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Jeff Goodwin, James M. Jasper, and Francesca Polletta

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780226303987

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226304007.001.0001

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Animal Rights and the Politics of Emotion: Folk Constructs of Emotions in the Animal Rights Movement

Animal Rights and the Politics of Emotion: Folk Constructs of Emotions in the Animal Rights Movement

Chapter:
(p.212) Chapter Twelve Animal Rights and the Politics of Emotion: Folk Constructs of Emotions in the Animal Rights Movement
Source:
Passionate Politics
Author(s):

Julian McAllister Groves

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226304007.003.0013

This chapter examines how social movement activists, specifically animal rights activists, talk about their feelings. The approach taken is basically that of symbolic interactionism. It looks at how activists interpret their emotions in the context of their interactions with significant others — particularly the media and opponents from the biomedical research community. The analysis looks at why a social movement takes the form it does. It seeks to explain why the animal rights movement embraces a scientific, philosophical outlook rather than taking the form of a movement for compassion and kindness led by middle-class women — as its predecessor, the humane movement, did in the nineteenth century. At the same time, activists define “acceptable anger,” which allows the more flamboyant, even violent forms of protest to be romanticized, thus allowing alleged terrorist acts to coexist within the movement's “rational,” professional, scientific outlook.

Keywords:   social movements, animal rights activists, feelings, symbolic interactionism, biomedical research, terrorist acts

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