Veganism & Identity – Is It Personal Identity Or Social Identity?

Food choice always plays a major role in our social life. We can agree with the phrase, “You Are What You Eat” in this scenario. Today, Veganism or the vegan diet has become more than just a habit or culture. Right now, it can become your identity and it can have the power to define your social identity as well.

Veganism: Trend?

People are usually driven by trends and we can consider it a major glimpse of such trends in our life. Vegan identity and culture have been part of our lifestyle since historical times.

According to the article published in Wikipedia (26 February 2021), the earliest records of veganism goes back to c. 973 – c. 1057 when Al-Ma’arri practiced this diet. He was a blind Arab philosopher, writer & poet.

In other words, we can believe that our ideas and identities are driven by the food choices that we make to a certain extent.

Veganism: Identity?

In today’s society, being identified as a vegetarian refers to more than your dietary preferences. A plant-based diet, Veganism, has the power of changing or altering social and personal identity. Likely, it will also influence the attitude, belief, values, and well-being of a person. (John Bnezlek & Catherine A Forestell, Pages 45-51)

Research data gives major hints that vegetarians are likely to be more pro-social in comparison to omnivores. Also, they are suggested to have more liberal political values too. However, it is observed that vegans are not as well-adjusted as omnivores in the social society which makes them stand in the status of social minority. (John Bnezlek & Catherine A Forestell, Pages 45-51)

Veganism: Impact.

As veganism drives more towards being a social identity, being a vegan has now become a categorization of one’s lifestyle, morals, and identity. However, the cultural and ethical differences, norms, and values differ from person to person even in vegan society.

According to the qualitative study data published in researchgate, Coffman’s theory of impression management can be used to identify the ethical and behavioral contradictions in vegan society. Wikipedia contributors. (2021, February 1).

As per the result of the study, it is reflected that vegans construct their sense of authenticity with the help of helpful strategies in case they feel inauthentic in any manner.

The construction of authenticity is a two-prong process. Simply, it requires vegans to look from the other person’s perspective. This helps them in negotiating with certain ethics that allows them to preserve social ethics as well. Later in the research, author Jessica Greenebaum describes the behavior contradicts as being authentic vegan. (Jessica Greenebaum, Pages 129-144)

The study of veganism is still in its initial phase where a lot is left for exploration and research. To completely understand the ethical and behavioral difference between vegans and omnivores, more research and study is needed to cover the unexplored areas.

Along with time, more data related to the various vegan contexts like antecedents, consequences, correlates, & socio-culture will come to the light.

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