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S6E6: Social Movement Mobilization and Feminism with Corey Lee Wrenn

In this episode Claudia talks to Corey Lee Wrenn about two concepts that are central to her work in animal studies: social movement mobilization and feminism. They discuss veganism as a social movement as well as some of the ways in which feminism has been sidelined in animal rights’ debates.

About Corey Lee Wrenn

Corey Lee Wrenn is Lecturer of Sociology with the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Political Movements at the University of Kent. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology with Colorado State University in 2016. She was awarded Exemplary Diversity Scholar, 2016 by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity. She served as council member with the American Sociological Association’s Animals & Society section (2013-2016), was elected Chair in 2018, and co-founded the International Association of Vegan Sociologists in 2020. She serves as Book Review Editor for Society & Animals, Consulting Editor for Psychology of Human-Animal Intergroup Relations, and Editor for The Sociological Quarterly, is a member of The Vegan Society’s Research Advisory Committee, and hosts Sociology & Animals Podcast. Corey has been published in several peer-reviewed academic journals including the Journal of Gender Studies, Environmental Values, Feminist Media Studies, Disability & Society, Food, Culture & Society, and Society & Animals. In July 2013, she founded the Vegan Feminist Network, an academic-activist project engaging intersectional social justice praxis. She is the author of A Rational Approach to Animal Rights: Extensions in Abolitionist Theory (Palgrave MacMillan 2016), Piecemeal Protest: Animal Rights in the Age of Nonprofits (University of Michigan Press 2019), Animals in Irish Society (SUNY Press 2021), Vegan Witchcraft: Contemporary Magical Practice and Multispecies Social Change (forthcoming, Routledge) and Vegan Feminism: History, Theory, Activism (forthcoming, Bloomsbury). Find out more about Corey on her website or connect with her on Twitter (@DrCoreyLeeWrenn).


Recorded: 13 October 2023

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In this Animal Highlight, fellow Virginia Thomas talks about Brown Dog, a canine who in 1903 was subjected to vivisection at University College London. Two activists brought his plight to the attention of the International Antivivisection Society and what ensued was a series lengthy legal and social battles commonly referred to as "The Brown Dog Affair."

Animal Highlight: Brown Dog

“Nothing Personal: Sociology advances the radical idea that much of what individuals take to be “real” or “common sense” is actually socially constructed. That is, reality is real only in the collective imagination, and imaginations can be manipulated. This is a radical idea that is already well accepted by many social movement activists who are keenly aware that reality can be manufactured, and they have a vested interest in contributing to that manufacture. Indeed, social movements hold great relevance to the social construction of reality given their focus on meaning-making in the public sphere. Activists, however, may find themselves distracted by this potential for agency, focusing on their individual experience of social movement mobilization to the exclusion of the wider environment that constrains it. It is certainly the powerful cultural ideology of individualism that encourages the misattribution of social or systemic processes to individual behaviors (or bad luck), but sociology’s structural focus lends to a depersonalization of politics. For activists embroiled in the distressing emotional labor of movement building and the inevitable disagreement that comes with group-level cooperation, [...] sociological analysis [...] should provide a critical understanding that relieves frustration and empowers. Infighting and boundary-making are typical characteristics observed of collective behaviors across most, if not all sectors. It is nothing personal; it is a predictable consequence of people coming together to do the messy business of constructing the social world.” - Corey Lee Wrenn, Piecemeal Protest: Animal Rights in the Age of Nonprofits, page 1

Thank you to Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics (A.P.P.L.E) for sponsoring this podcast; Christiaan Mentz for hi editing work, Virginia Thomas for the Animal Highlight, Gordon Clarke for the bed music, Jeremy John (Website) for the logo. This podcast is hosted and produced by Claudia Hirtenfelder. 

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