From Magazines to Twitter Memes: The Visual Methods of Animal Activist Social Movements 1860-2018
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This thesis aims to explore the evolution of social movements against animal performance, leading to its current social and political momentum. By mapping the historical trends of the activist campaigns, this thesis will explore the public attitudes and practices that have influenced the messaging employed by social movement organizations within the movement. The theoretical examination of this thesis is threefold, situating animal performativity, and the opposition to it, within extensive existing literature on social movements, animal/human sociology, and visual studies. Through exploratory historical analysis, this thesis will critically examine discursive developments in the movement and the sites of production and circulation as they adapt to new technological forms. I have accomplished this exploration by conducting discourse and content analysis on archetypical images that have been created by activist organizations. Through this analysis, I propose that the majority of visuals used within the movement can be divided into four distinctive themes, three of which remain reliably consistent during the past 150 years. The thesis then explores the technological innovations that have affected the imagery of the movement and audience reactions to new forms of representation. This thesis concludes by arguing that the social movements against animal performance has consistently adapted to its time while remaining true to its original themes and messaging. It has taken advantage of changing social attitudes rather than improving forms of image capturing and circulation. While behind-the-scenes footage may be eye-catching, it is the ability of the movement to capitalize on tangential social concerns and incorporate broader animal welfare into concerns that has remained the most consistent strategy.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/24864
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