Consumer Boycotts: Effecting Change through the Marketplace and the Media

Consumer Boycotts: Effecting Change through the Marketplace and the Media

Consumer Boycotts: Effecting Change through the Marketplace and the Media

Consumer Boycotts: Effecting Change through the Marketplace and the Media

Synopsis

Despite the increasing incidence of consumer boycotts, relatively little has been published on this controversial form of social and economic protest. This timely volume fills the knowledge gap by examining boycotts both historically and currently. Drawing on both published and unpublished material as well as personal interviews with boycott groups and their targets, Monroe Friedman discusses different types and aspects of boycotts from their historical focus on labor and economic concerns to the more recent inclusion of issues such as minority rights, animal welfare, and environmental protection.

Excerpt

I caught the boycott bug in 1966 and have never been able to get it out of my system. and like many scholars with a career-long love-hate fascination with a topic or problem, I’m not sure I want to. in the introductory remarks that follow, I start by tracing the history of my academic involvement with boycotts and tell how this involvement led to the writing of this book. I talk next about the content of the book, with emphasis on its origins and organization.

In 1966 I had the good fortune to be awarded a Congressional Fellowship by the American Political Science Association. the Congressional Fellowship program, which is funded by the Ford Foundation, brings young academics and journalists to Washington each year for a nine-month period split into two equal work assignments, one in the office of a senator and the other in the office of a representative. Since I had three free months before the program began, I found a position as a consultant to Esther Peterson, who at that time was working for President Lyndon Johnson as the first Special Assistant to the President for Consumer Affairs. It now appears that these few months were critical ones for Peterson in that a consumer boycott occurred during this period that may have cost her her job. I should add parenthetically that they also got me going, as a young academic, on the topic of boycotts.

What happened to Peterson started in Colorado in the fall of 1966 when a Denver homemaker, outraged at the rapidly increas-

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