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Contextualizing Boycotts and Buycotts: The Impure Politics of Consumer-Based Advocacy in an Age of Global Ecological Crises

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Despite their popularity and significance, there is a paucity of communication scholarship on boycotts and buycotts. This absence may be due to an erroneous assumption that such tactics are merely economic, as well as to a hesitancy to critique consumption. This essay focuses on three contemporary US-based exemplars that address global ecological crises: the Rainforest Action Network boycott of Mitsubishi; the Farm Labor Organizing Committee boycott of Mt. Olive Pickle Company; and the Carrotmob buycott of a liquor store. The circuit of culture framework and a radically contextual approach provide a more nuanced analysis of consumer-based advocacy campaigns.

Keywords: Boycott; Buycott; Circuit of Culture; Consumption; Environmental Advocacy

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2011


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