Activism refers to a person or group’s efforts to promote, impede, direct or intervene in social, political or economic reform with the intent of changing society toward what is perceived as a greater good. It embodies the belief that everyone has the right to participate in society and can contribute in some way to its improvement. It can take on a wide variety of forms such as mandate building in a community, writing letters to elected officials, running or contributing to a political campaign, preferential patronage of businesses that support a cause, boycotting businesses that don’t, and demonstrative activism like rallies, marches, protests and sit-ins.
One of the most common types of activism involves promoting and advocating for legislation that will change society for the better. This can be done through working with other groups with similar goals and putting pressure on legislators to pass laws that will help people.
Other types of activism involve educating people about the issues that affect them. This can be done by teaching children in school about important topics and encouraging them to become leaders in their communities, by holding workshops in community centers or schools, and by spreading awareness through social media.
The use of social media has revolutionized the way that activists organize and communicate with each other. Many social movements are built around the internet and are organized into centralized networks where people can share information about events and protests that are happening in their area. This is often referred to as crowdsourcing and can be an effective form of activism.
Activism has also become more prominent in the business world as some CEOs have taken to speaking out about social and political issues. Some of this CEO activism has been effective, while others have been widely criticized as hypocritical. For example, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Apple CEO Tim Cook have both spoken out about religious freedom in the United States, but their companies still do business in countries that persecute LGBTQ individuals.
Some types of activism are carried out as a full-time career and considered to be an industry in its own right. These include the advocacy of environmental causes, which can be a highly lucrative field that includes companies such as Greenpeace. Other industries are focused on lobbying for specific policies or pursuing legal action to protect the rights of their members.
The research that has been conducted on activism is vast and varied. Some studies have examined how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced activism, with six of the eight studies looking at this in general and the rest considering how the pandemic impacted particular forms of activism such as social groups’ rights, political movements and protests, abortion, ethical consumption, and environmental activism (see Table 2). The methods that were used for these studies included surveys and interviews, data collected from online activities, ethnographic observation and reports, as well as text analysis, predictive statistical techniques and machine learning.