“I have an agreement with the bunnies” : Gastronationalism and the sticky image of the lady in the flowery hat in online discussions of the far right on plant-based eating

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Title: “I have an agreement with the bunnies” : Gastronationalism and the sticky image of the lady in the flowery hat in online discussions of the far right on plant-based eating
Author: Komulainen, Riitta
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202010074223
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Sukupuolentutkimuksen maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Gender Studies
Magisterprogrammet i genusvetenskap
Specialisation: ei opintosuuntaa
no specialization
ingen studieinriktning
Abstract: This thesis examines intersections of far right ideologies and veganism and vegetarianism (hereby called veg*nism), on Finnish anti-immigration online discussion forum, Hommaforum. The research material consists of six threads from the forum that focus on plant-based eating in Finnish contexts. Drawing from the fields of the critical study of men and masculinities, vegan ecofeminism, and affect theory, the analysis discusses themes that emerge from these threads, such as bioessentialism, fear of feminization, and negotiations of masculinity. The study discusses the history of the far right in Finland, from nationalistic movements to right-wing populist parties (RPPs) as well as contemporary far right movements outside of parlamentarism. The study also delves into the history of vegetarianism and veganism. As veganism is an ideology as well as a diet, the study maps out the history of the animal rights movement in Finland, as well as charts the difference between animal welfarism, the animal rights movement, and the animal liberation movement. The interconnectedness of far right ideology and plant-based eating is also discussed. The topic of the research is analysed thematically with Sara Ahmed’s affect theory and theorization of sticky concepts, Michaela DeSoucey’s concept of gastronationalism, and Diana Mulinari’s and Anders Neergard’s concept of caring racism. Utilizing these, the thesis maps out how a sticky figure of the lady in the flowery hat is constructed on the forum, and how this sticky figure haunts online discussions of the far right, and how some behaviors relating to food and eating are constructed as Finnish while others are constructed as not belonging in Finnish culture. Plant-based eating has been historically viewed as feminine in an effort to justify the colonializing of countries where it has been historically more prominent. The study analyzes how these arguments that plant-based eating is feminine are still represented in online discussions of the far right. The far right positions itself as the voice of reason, coolly rational, and ideas of caring for animal suffering is constructed to be emotional and soft. On the other hand, proveg*n arguments were also to be found on the forum. The study analyzes how the seemingly contradicting views of the far right and veg*nism coexist on the far right online discussion forum, Hommaforum.
Subject: gastronationalism
far right ideologies
post-colonial perspectives
critical animal studies
vegan econfeminism
plant-based eating
critical studies of men and masculinities
food habits
the lady in the flowery hat
affect theory

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