The Italian Animal Advocacy Archipelago and the Four Animalisms


Italian animal advocacy is extremely divided and fragmented: in this article, we focus on its political dimension. Based upon prior studies, we expected the Italian animal advocacy archipelago to be clustered into three strata: old welfare, new welfare, and animal rights. Quantification of our survey (704 respondents throughout Italy) instead indicated a dichotomy between the animal rights area and both types of welfarists, particularly in terms of ethical values and localization on a progressive/conservative political axis. However, when we used qualitative interviews to probe the views of Italian animal advocates in greater depth, we detected a greater fragmentation and identified four ideal types of activism, defined as follows: political animalism, anarchist animalism, anti-political animalism, and moderate animalism. These ideal types are separated primarily along two dimensions: relationship with neo-liberal societal and economic structure, and degree of intersectional approach with other social movements. In the conclusions, we also offer general reflections on the coexistence of lobbying and protest, the phenomenon on NGOization, and the influence of individual activism and frame personalization on contemporary social movements.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v11i3p865

Keywords: Animal rights movement; animal advocacy; antispeciesism; animal welfare; political movements


Almiron, N., Cole, M., & Freeman, C. P. (2015). Critical Animal and Media Studies: Communication for Nonhuman Animal Advocacy. New York: Routledge.

Ayoub, P., Wallace, S., & Zepeda-Millán, C. (2014). Triangulation in social movement research. In D., della Porta (ed.), Methodological practices in social movement re-search (pp. 67-96). New York: Oxford University Press.

Bennett, P. W. L., & Segerberg, D. A. (2013). The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-versity Press.

Bertuzzi, N. (2017). No Expo Network: multiple subjectivities, online communication strategies, and the world outside. Interface, 9(1), 146-160

Bertuzzi, N. (2018). I movimenti animalisti in Italia. Politiche, strategie e pratiche di at-tivismo. Milano: Meltemi.

Bertuzzi, N. (2018b). The contemporary Italian animal advocacy, Modern Italy

Bertuzzi, N. & Reggio, M. (eds. 2019), Smontare la gabbia. Nuov prospettive per le lotte di liberazione animale. Milano-Udine: Mimesis.

Best, S. (2014). The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century. New York: Springer.

Bieler, A. (2011). Labour, New Social Movements and the Resistance to Neoliberal Re-structuring in Europe. New Political Economy, 16 (2), 163-183.

Caffo, L. (2017). Speciesism and the ideology of domination in the italian philosophical tradition. In A. Linzey, C. Linzey (eds.), The Handbook of Practical Animal Ethics, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Castells M (2015) Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Chen, P. (2018), Animal Welfare in Australia: Politics and policy. Sidney: Sidney University Press.

Cherry, E. (2010), Shifting Symbolic Boundaries: Cultural Strategies of the Animal Rights Movement. Sociological Forum, 25(3), 450-475.

Cherry, E. (2016), Culture and Activism. Animal Rights in France and the United States. London-New York: Routledge.

Cole, M., & Morgan, K. (2011). Vegaphobia: derogatory discourses of veganism and the reproduction of speciesism in UK national newspapers. The British Journal of Sociology, 62(1), 134–153.

Della Porta, D., & Diani, M. (2004). Movimenti senza protesta?: l’ambientalismo in Ita-lia. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Diani, M. (1995). Green networks. A structural analysis of the Italian environmental movement. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Dubreuil, C.M. (2013), Libération animale et végétarisation. Ethnologie de l'anti-spécisme français, Paris: CTHS.

Ellefsen, R. (2016). Judicial opportunities and the death of SHAC: legal repression along a cycle of contention. Social Movement Studies, 15(5), 441–456.

Fligstein, N., & McAdam, D. (2012). A theory of fields. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Francione, G. (1996). Rain without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Move-ment. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Garner, R. (1995). The politics of animal protection: A research agenda. Society & Ani-mals, 3(1), 43–60.

Garner, R. (2008). The Politics of Animal Rights. British Politics, 3(1), 110–119.

Giugni, M., & Grasso, M. T. (2015). Environmental movements in advanced industrial democracies: Heterogeneity, transformation, and institutionalization. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 40, 337-361.

Guazzaloca, G. (2017). ‘In the name of justice and compassion’: animal protection in Italy during the Liberal Age (1861-1914). Modern Italy, 22(3), 261–274.

Hobson-West, P. (2007). Beasts and boundaries: an introduction to animals in sociolo-gy, science and society. Qualitative Sociology Review, 3(1), 23-41.

Humphrey, M., & Stears, M. (2006). Animal rights protest and the challenge to deliberative democracy. Economy and Society, 35(3), 400–422.

Imig, D., & Tarrow, S. (2001). Mapping the Europeanization of Contention: Evidence from a Quantitative Data Analysis, in: D. Imig and S. Tarrow (eds.): Contentious Europeans: protest and politics in an emerging polity, (pp. 27-49), Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Inglehart, R. (1977). The Silent Revolution: Political Change Among Western Publics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Jacobsson, K., & Lindblom, J. (2017). Animal Rights Activism. A Moral-Sociological Per-spective on Social Movements. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Jasper, J. M., & Nelkin, D. (1991). The Animal Rights Crusade: The Growth of a Moral Protest. New York: Free Press.

Joy, M. (2011). Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows: An introduction to carnism. New York: Conari.

Leiren, M., & Parks, L. (2014). When trade unions succeed: Cases of blocked liberalisa-tion in the common market. European Journal of Political Research, 53 (3), 465-479.

Maori, A. (2016). La protezione degli animali in Italia. Storia dell’Enpa e dei movimenti zoofili e animalisti dalla metà dell’Ottocento alle soglie del Duemila. Roma: Enpa.

Maurizi, M. (2011). Al di là della natura: gli animali, il capitale e la libertà. Aprilia: Nova-logos.

Mazzoleni, G., & Sfardini, A. (2009), Politica pop. Da 'Porta a porta' a 'L'isola dei famosi'. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Melucci, A. (1996). Challenging codes: Collective action in the information age. Cam-bridge: Cambridge University Press.

Morini, M. (2018). ‘Animals first!’ The rise of animal advocacy parties in the EU: a new party family. Contemporary Politics, 19(1).

Munro, L. (2005). Strategies, Action Repertoires and DIY Activism in the Animal Rights Movement. Social Movement Studies, 4(1), 75–94.

Munro, L. (2012). The animal rights movement in theory and practice: A review of the sociological literature. Sociology Compass, 6(2), 166–181.

Nibert, D. (1994). Animal rights and human social issues. Society & Animals, 2(2), 115–124.

Nibert, D. (2002). Animal rights/human rights: Entanglements of oppression and liberation. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

O'Sullivan, S. (2011), Animals, Equality and Democracy. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Pocar, V. (2005). Gli animali non umani. Per una sociologia dei diritti. Roma-Bari: Later-za.

Regan, T. (2005). Empty cages: Facing the challenge of animal rights. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Righetti, N. (2018). Il veganismo tra mainstream e controcultura. Micro & Macro Mar-keting, 27(1), 109–130.

Rokkan, S., & Lipset, S. M. (1967). Party systems and voter alignments: cross-national perspectives. New York: Free Press.

Rootes, C. (2003). Environmental Protest in Western Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rowlands, M. (2002). Animals like us. London: Verso.

Saunders, C. (2007). Using social network analysis to explore social movements: a relational approach. Social Movement Studies, 6( 3), 227-243.

Singer, P. (1975). Animal liberation. London: Thorsons.

Tarrow, S., and Tilly, C. (2007). ‘Contentious Politics and Social Movements’ In C. Boix and S. Stokes (eds.) The Oxford handbook of comparative politics. New York: Oxford University Press.

Tonutti, S. (2007). Diritti animali: storia e antropologia di un movimento. Udine: Forum.

Turina, I. (2010). Éthique et engagement dans un groupe antispéciste. L’Année Soci-ologique, 60(1), 161–187.

Van Dyke, N., & McCammon, H. J. (2010). Strategic alliances: Coalition building and social movements. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Vedder, H. (2010). The Treaty of Lisbon and European environmental law and policy. Journal of Environmental Law, 22(2), 285–299.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.