Centre for European and International Studies Research

Veganism: Ethics and Lifestyle

This project seeks to investigate perspectives on veganism in terms of synergies and tensions between the moral values associated with the welfare of animals, the principles associated with sustainability, and the values associated with healthy living.   Historically, veganism has an ethical dimension that extends beyond diet to preclude the human use of any animal-based products (e.g. in clothes and accessories) and products and methods that involve the abuse of animals (e.g. chemical products that are tested on animals).   Individuals who care about animals often feel they are confirming the substance of their concern by conducting their lives around their view about a moral position that humans should refrain from inflicting harm on nonhumans. This ethical veganism is a form of consumer boycott that is regarded as a display of moral integrity.  In lifestyle veganism the ethical dimension is replaced with an effort to achieve dietary insurance against risks to health.  Thus, lifestyle veganism is said to replace the being of the ethical conduct of life with the doing of the consumer who is more concerned with her or his health. 


The project team aims to:

  • explore the complexities of ethical veganism and lifestyle veganism,
  • examine marketing strategies for vegan products,
  • investigate national trends in veganism,
  • compare and contrast the perspectives of ethical and lifestyle vegans

Kay Peggs, Barry Smart and Joseph Burridge are based in the Milldam Campus in the School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies.  They have been involved in other collaborative work, including:

  • Barry Smart, Kay Peggs and Joseph Burridge (In Preparation) (Co-editors) Critical Social Research Ethics SAGE Benchmarks in Social Research Series, 4 Volumes
  • Barry Smart, Kay Peggs and Joseph Burridge (2013) (Co-editors) Observation Methods, SAGE Benchmarks in Social Research Series, 4 Volumes. Vol I p 393; Vol II p 448; Vol III p 355; Vol IV p 355.

Members of the team have collaborated on work related to the project including

  • Kay Peggs and Barry Smart (In press). ‘Vegan diet’ SAGE Encyclopedia of Nutrition and Health. Thousand Oaks. CA: SAGE
  • Kay Peggs and Barry Smart (In press). ‘Vegetarian diet’ SAGE Encyclopedia of Nutrition and Health. Thousand Oaks. CA: SAGE
  • Kay Peggs and Barry Smart (In press)’ Nonhuman Animal Suffering:  Critical Pedagogy and Practical Animal Ethics’.  Society and Animals
  • Kay Peggs and Barry Smart (In press) ‘Suffering Existence: Nonhuman Animals and the Question of Ethics’  in A. Linzey and C. Linzey (Eds) Palgrave Handbook of Practical Animal Ethics.  Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

In co-operation with the project Food Ethics, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy and Education, University of Vienna.


Kay Peggs (Veganism Ethics and Lifestyle Project Leader)

Kay is Reader in Sociology and is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.  Her current research interests include the human/nonhuman divide, intersectionality and complex inequalities, and social ethics and moral consideration. She has published widely on animals in society. Full profile: Kay Peggs

Barry Smart

Barry is Professor of Sociology.  He has published widely in the fields of classical and contemporary social thought. His current research interests relevant to the project include the economic transformation of modernity, cultural and economic analyses of consumption, the environmental consequences of consumerism, as well as ethics and species being. Full profile: Barry Smart

Joseph Burridge

Joseph is Principal Lecturer in Sociology.  He is a cultural sociologist and discourse analyst whose main research interests centre on food.  He has explored previously the discursive construction of 'identities' in various social conflicts, and has analysed a broad range of materials, including parliamentary debates, campaign posters, and the content of newspapers and magazines. Full profile: Joseph Burridge

Scott Jowett

Scott is Research Associate. His main interests are the Sociology of food and socioeconomics. For his PhD he is examining ethical food movements (such as fair trade) and their relationship with economic policy.

Sue Redmond

Sue is Research Associate.  Her main interests are in social class, For her PhD she is examining social class in the Royal Navy. Other areas of interest include culture and identity, postmodern geographies, cities and urban landscapes.  She is also interested in sociolinguistics, though she would not claim to have an expert knowledge of the area.

Emily Smart

Emily is Research Associate. Her main interests are in gender, feminism and human interaction with other animals. She is currently studying for an MSc in Social Research Methods at the University of Surrey. Her research focuses primarily on feminism and the types of discourse that surround meat-eating practices.

Mary Watkins

Mary is Research Associate. Her main interests are in gender and consuming. For her PhD she has conducted several small scale research projects focusing on masculinity and the men's grooming product market. She is also an Online Developer for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and has knowledge and experience of web design, electronic learning and communicating through social media. Full profile: Mary Watkins

Thomas Davenport – Film maker

Thomas Davenport is highly involved in the growing Portsmouth film-making scene. He has worked on films in various capacities, including being the cinematographer in the 2013 DV Missions Best Picture 'The Red Curve'. His directorial piece 'Silhouette' has received critical praise from various independent film festivals around the country.

Selected Recent Publications by Individual Members of the Team

  • Kay Peggs et al (2015) Normalising the Unthinkable: The Ethics of Using Animals in Research (eds A. Linzey and C. Linzey) Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics
  • Kay Peggs (2014) From Centre to Margins (and Back Again): Critical Animal Studies and the Reflexive Human Self. In N. Taylor and R. Twine (Eds.) The Growth of Critical Animal Studies.  London: Routledge. Pp 36-51
  • Kay Peggs (2013) The 'Animal-Advocacy Agenda': Exploring Sociology for Nonhuman Animals. The Sociological Review 61 (3): 591-606
  • Kay Peggs (2012) Animals and Sociology.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Barry Smart (2015) 'Good for business, good without reservation? Veblen's critique of business enterprise and pecuniary culture', Journal of Classical Sociology, Vol 15, No 4,   
  • Barry Smart (2013) `Sustaining: the environment’, in Being Sociological (second edition) edited by S Matthewman, L West-Newman and B Curtis: Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan pp 331-350
  • Barry Smart (2010) Consumer Society: Critical Issues and Environmental Consequences. London: Sage.
  • Barry Smart (2006) ‘Freedom without responsibility: the culture of the market and the demoralisation of social life’, in The Moralization of the Markets, edited by Nico Stehr, Christoph Henning and Bernd Weiler, Transaction Books, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2006, pp 29-51
  • Joseph Burridge (2012) ‘Too Fat to Fight? Obesity, Biopolitics and the Militarization of Children’s Bodies’ (with Kevin McSorley), in McSorley, K. (ed.) War and the Body, London: Routledge: 62-77.
  • Joseph Burridge (2012) 'Introduction: Frugality and Food in Contemporary and Historical Perspective', Food and Foodways: Explorations in the History and Culture of Human Nourishment, 20(1): 1-7.
  • Joseph Burridge (2011) ‘The Dilemma of Frugality and Consumption in Women’s Magazine Adverts 1940-1955’, in Richardson, J.E. and Burridge, J.D. (eds.) Analysing Media Discourses, London: Routledge, 111-123.

Selected Conferences

  • The Ethics of Animal Experiments Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. Oxford July 2015,
  • Differences, Inequalities and the Sociological Imagination. 12th Conference of the European Sociological Association. August 2015 Minding Animals International Conference, Utrecht, The Netherlands, July 2012
  • Animals in the Anthropocene: Human-Animal Relations in a Changing Semiosphere,  Stavanger, Norway, September 17-19 2015

Networks include

  • Association for the Studying of Food in Society
  • British Sociological Association Food Study Group
  • British Sociological Association Human Animal Study Group
  • Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy and Education, University of Vienna.
  • Minding Animals International
  • Oxford Institute for Animal Ethics
  • Vegan Society UK