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International Animal Rights ConferenceInternational Animal Rights Conference

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Friday, 11.09.2015   10:00-10:50   Room A
Total liberation or animal rights only?
Intersectionality in the agenda and participation of the AR movement in the Baltic States through narratives of AR activists
Kadri Aavik

As an increasingly important topic of internal debate in the European AR movement in recent years, the question of whether the movement should focus narrowly on animal-related issues or take on an approach of total liberation, which includes engagement with social justice issues, has emerged. Despite the ongoing debates, the rise of many organizations focused solely on AR can be observed all over Europe. The choice of approach in terms of intersectionality has important implications on the influence and spread of the AR movement as well as its possibilities for contributing to a wider agenda of social justice.

With this research, we wish to contribute to debates on the agenda setting of the AR movement, in terms of total liberation vs. specific focus on animal rights, and alliance politics of the AR movement with other social movements. This presentation deals with intersectional exclusions and inclusions of the AR movement, based on the example of the AR movement in the Baltic States, which, while having emerged only relatively recently and still involving small numbers of activists, has become rather visible in the region. More particularly, we focus on two related issues. First, we pay attention to the composition of the movement, seeking to understand ways in which activists understand the movement as exclusive and/or inclusive regarding the participation of differently positioned individuals in terms of ethnicity/race, class, gender and other relevant categories. Second, we take a look at the framing of the Baltic AR movement`s agenda in terms of conceptualizing and challenging oppressions intersectionally, including coalition building with other social movements.

Our analysis draws on interviews with AR activists based in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. While we explore these issues via individual narratives, we distinguish personal and organizational agendas, as well as theoretical and practical levels in framing these issues, and attend to possible contradictions between these. In our analysis, we pay particular attention to the social and political context of post-Soviet Europe, which has implications on the choice of agenda and coalition building for the AR movement in this area.













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