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What do tuna, grapes, salt, and Starbucks coffee have in common? All these foods have been subject to consumer boycotts. A boycott can be understood as a refusal to purchase goods or services with the intent of changing some aspect of the good or service. For example, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person on the bus and was subsequently arrested and jailed, the citizens of Montgomery boycotted the Montgomery bus system to challenge the laws and practice of the system. Boycotts are “an attempt by one or more parties to achieve certain objectives by urging individual consumers to refrain from making selected purchases in the marketplace” (Friedman 1985, p. 97).
This entry begins with the origin of the term boycott and the role of boycotts as a political strategy in contemporary society. Drawing from Consumer Boycotts: Effecting Change Through the Marketplace and the Media by Monroe Friedman (1999),...
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