Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: Deborah C Poff, Alex C. Michalos

Boycotting as a Social Movement

  • Mark C. VopatEmail author
  • Alan E. Tomhave
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23514-1_462-1



The term “boycott” was coined in Ireland in the late 1880s. However, boycotts had been used as a vehicle for social protest and change long before that. A boycott is variously defined as the withholding of certain types of social or commercial interactions with another person, business, corporation, organization, or nation. The reason for this withholding varies, but it generally expresses disapproval, is intended as a form of punishment, or is used as a means of forcing acceptance of certain terms.

One early American example of an effective boycott was that surrounding the protest of the Stamp Act passed by the British Parliament in 1765. The tax required that the colonists pay a tax on every piece of paper that they used. This included all paper used for ship manifests, legal documents, newspapers, and the like. In response to this tax, the American colonists engaged in a boycott of all British goods. The result of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religious StudiesYoungstown State UniversityYoungstownUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Deborah C. Poff
    • 1
  1. 1.Leading with IntegrityOttawaCanada