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I Was a Teenage Vegan: Motivation and Maintenance of Lifestyle Movements


  • I would like to thank Ross Haenfler for his comments on previous versions of this manuscript. I also thank Editor Peter B. Wood and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions.


Recent research has pointed to the rise of socially conscious consumption and of lifestyle movements or social movements that focus on changing one's everyday lifestyle choices as a form of protest. Much of this research addresses how adults maintain socially conscious consumption practices. Using interviews with youths who are vegan—strict vegetarians who exclude all animal products from their diet and lifestyle—I isolate the factors influencing recruitment into and retention of veganism as a lifestyle movement. I show that initial recruitment requires learning, reflection, and identity work, and that subsequent retention requires two factors: social support from friends and family, and cultural tools that provide the skills and motivation to maintain lifestyle activism. I also show how participation in the punk subculture further facilitated these processes. This work contributes to studies of youth subcultures and social movements by showing how the two intersect in lifestyle movement activism.

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