Boycotts and the social enforcement of justice

Social Philosophy and Policy 34 (1):102-122 (2017)
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Abstract

This essay examines the ethics of boycotting as a social response to injustice or wrongdoing. The boycotts in question are collective actions in which private citizens withdraw from or avoid consumer or cultural interaction with parties perceived to be responsible for some transgression. Whether a particular boycott is justified depends, not only on the reasonableness of the underlying moral critique, but also on what the boycotters are doing in boycotting. The essay considers four possible interpretations of the kind of act in which boycotting consists: the avoidance of complicity, protest speech, social punishment, or social coercion. Each interpretation provides a plausible account of at least some cases of boycotting, yet each raises distinct challenges to justifying boycotting activities.

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Linda Radzik
Texas A&M University

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References found in this work

Hypocrisy, Moral Address, and the Equal Standing of Persons.R. Jay Wallace - 2010 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 38 (4):307-341.
Boycott Basics: Moral Guidelines for Corporate Decision Making.Mary Lyn Stoll - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 84 (S1):3 - 10.
Should we boycott boycotts?Claudia Mills - 1996 - Journal of Social Philosophy 27 (3):136-148.
Ethical dilemmas associated with consumer boycotts.Monroe Friedman - 2001 - Journal of Social Philosophy 32 (2):232–240.

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