A boycott is an act of voluntary and intentional refraining from using, buying or dealing with a person, organization or country as an expression of protest, usually for social, political or environmental reasons. The purpose of these acts is to inflict some financial loss on the target, or to indicate a moral outrage, to try to force the target to alter objectionable behavior. Sometimes these actions can be a form of consumer activism, sometimes called moral buying. When a similar practice is legislated by a national government, it is known as a sanction.

What is boycott

Although the boycott is mainly applied in economic and commercial contexts, it also tends to be social or work-related. This term refers to the refusal to sell, buy or carry out a commercial relationship or of any kind with specific people or companies, which are considered as protagonists of something that, according to moral values, is immoral or reprehensible.

The economic refusals have to do with not carrying out any economic transactions with companies, country or any specific person, as a measure of retaliation for certain actions. For example, there has been an economic refusal (we can also speak of it as something commercial) to countries with dictatorial regimes. These actions are nothing more than a measure contrary to the normal development of trade, and always affect third parties, not only those to whom it is directed.

For example, if you make a plot against French champagne, you are hurting manufacturers, employees and their families, shippers, packaging manufacturers and other suppliers, etc., which is probably not related to the problem. That originated the plot and will pay the consequences unfairly.

Boycott - Boycott Graffiti

The word Boycott is derived from the last name of the Irishman Charles Cunningham Boycott.

Origin and history of boycotts

This term was born thanks to Charles Cunningham Boycott, an administrator of the Irish county of Erne, who would have suffered a blockade by the tenants due to the measures decreed against themselves, hence, the term adopted his last name to refer to the action of not buy, sell, follow or support certain subjects or companies.

It all started at the beginning of the 19th century, in Ireland. When Captain Charles Boycott managed land in his hometown, this fellow used to oppose the demands of the working farmers and demanded better working conditions.

Faced with this situation, the farmers began to look for a way to make him change his mind and that is where the idea of ​​stopping the work arose, the businesses supported the action by ceasing to provide him with food and the postman stopped taking his correspondence. All this sabotage made Boycott decide to go to England.

And this is how the action taken by the workers was used to describe the peculiar way of exerting pressure on a person or organism in order to modify their attitude. Hence the concept of boycott arises.

Types of boycott

The following infographic is presented with the types of boycott with a brief example.

Examples of boycott

In 2019 the Gucci boycott was presented, when a group of celebrities went against the fashion company for having put up for sale a garment that came to be considered racist. There is also the boycott of English products carried out by the Continental association in 1774 against the United Kingdom as a means of response to the coercive laws of 1774. On the other hand, there is the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 as a method of opposition to policies of racial segregation in public transport. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a struggle that lasted about a year and was a great success.

There is also the hotel boycott of the Sultan of Brunei, which was sponsored by George Clooney and Elton John in 2019, because the Sultan created a law in which the death penalty should be imposed on homosexuals. Finally, the Eurovision boycott in 2019, when the song festival was to be held in Israel. The event was promoted to defend the human and collective rights of Palestine.

Frequently Asked Questions about Boycott

Where is the word boycott from?

It was derived from the last name of Charles Cunningham Boycott, an Irish manager who suffered a lockdown due to problems with his landlords.

What is the boycott for?

To raise awareness in the collective and respect or enforce human rights.

How to boycott a company?

Through communications on social networks, as long as this company performs reprehensible acts.

How long did the Montgomery bus boycott last?

About a year, since it began in 1955 and culminated in 1556.

What is a boycott in international law?

It is one in which the people of a country refuse to maintain commercial and economic relations with another nation, in order to express their dissatisfaction with reprehensible actions they have committed.