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Article
Publication date: 27 April 2022

Habib Mohammad Ali, Shima Saniei, Patrick O'Leary and Jennifer Boddy

This study aims to broaden the understanding of activist public relations in developing contexts. The power of formal laws and policies in developing contexts diminishes…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to broaden the understanding of activist public relations in developing contexts. The power of formal laws and policies in developing contexts diminishes by traditional norms and authorities, and therefore, a great deal of activist public relations efforts is devoted to controlling destructive norms and informal authorities. Activist public relations literature often assumes powerful formal institutions that are capable to control behaviors. The authors challenge this assumption by exploring activist public relations against gender-based violence (GV) in Bangladesh.

Design/methodology/approach

This study took an interpretative and social constructionist approach to examine public relations practices of two GV activist organizations in Bangladesh. The data were collected through observation, interviews and document analysis of four campaigns. The data were coded in NVivo.

Findings

The data show that the activist organizations used public relations campaigns for informal institutional work. The campaigns included educating various publics and storytelling to build supporting identities, norms and networks to address GV in Bangladesh.

Research limitations/implications

The study has been limited to advocacy campaign of the non-governmental organizations.

Practical implications

The knowledge from this study can be applied to the social development sectors where public relations is used to activate activism. In addition, the public relations practitioners and scholars can find how activists public relations is emerging in developing context.

Originality/value

The findings suggest that activist public relations in developing contexts carry out institutional work and create informal institutions to compensate for the formal institutional voids. In addition, this paper highlights the role of public relations in institutional work, to create and maintain contributory institutions or disrupt disturbing institutions.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Anti-Abortion Activism in the UK
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-399-9

Book part
Publication date: 22 February 2011

Ashley Currier

This chapter considers how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists in Namibia and South Africa appropriate discourses of decolonization associated with…

Abstract

This chapter considers how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists in Namibia and South Africa appropriate discourses of decolonization associated with African national liberation movements. I examine the legal, cultural, and political possibilities associated with LGBT activists’ framing of law reform as a decolonization project. LGBT activists identified laws governing gender and sexual nonconformity as in particular need of reform. Using data from daily ethnographic observation of LGBT movement organizations, in-depth qualitative interviews with LGBT activists, and newspaper articles about political homophobia, I elucidate how Namibian and South African LGBT activists conceptualize movement challenges to antigay laws as decolonization.

Details

Special Issue Social Movements/Legal Possibilities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-826-8

Book part
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Dominik Breitinger and Jean-Philippe Bonardi

Private politics refers to situations in which activists or NGOs try to push firms to conform to social standards (regarding, for instance, human rights and environmental…

Abstract

Private politics refers to situations in which activists or NGOs try to push firms to conform to social standards (regarding, for instance, human rights and environmental protection) without public policy intervention. The existing literature on private politics has focused on large campaigns such as consumer boycotts, and looked at the impact of those boycotts on firms’ financial performance and on the likelihood that firms comply with activist demands. Even though these large campaigns are important, focusing on them leads to neglecting the fact that a large portion of the time and resources that activists consecrate to private politics is used to monitor firms and criticize them through Internet posting and media statements, rather than to launch high profile campaigns. Little is known, however, about what drives these activists when they criticize companies, why they target certain companies and not others, and whether this criticism should be considered as a primary step in the production of full-fledged campaigns. In this paper, we fill this gap by exploring a unique international database of CSR-based criticisms against Fortune 500 companies for the 2006–2009 period. This database allows us to look at the impact of a broad range of factors including industry differences, country/institutional differences and firm-specific dimensions, on the likelihood that a certain firm will be targeted by activist critique. Results indicate that criticism is driven by strategic intents. Similar to previous literature, large and visible firms in certain industries are more targeted than others. In addition, these firms also tend to come from countries with strong institutions and high standards of living.

Details

Strategy Beyond Markets
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-019-0

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 19 July 2021

John Markoff, Hillary Lazar and Jackie Smith

Scholars have shown many ways that social movements and democracy are deeply connected. Here, we demonstrate a previously unexplored process by which social movements…

Abstract

Scholars have shown many ways that social movements and democracy are deeply connected. Here, we demonstrate a previously unexplored process by which social movements alter democratic practice. Democratic movements are often experienced as insufficiently democratic by the very activists who participate in them, impelling new practices. We present examples from recent research on democratic movements and then contend that this is a common occurrence. Building on Hirschman's analysis of organizational change, we develop a theoretical account of why activists find movements for democracy disappointing and try to correct this, either by transforming the organizations they are in or creating new ones. Hirschman categorized responses to organizational challenges as Voice and Exit; we define a combination of these we call Semi-Exit as a useful extension. We then show in some detail how both disappointment and creativity have been generated in two major movement arenas: transnational activism that links social justice with environmental concerns and the Occupy Movement.

Details

The Politics of Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-363-0

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Jose Miguel Abito, David Besanko and Daniel Diermeier

We model the interaction between a profit-maximizing firm and an activist using an infinite-horizon dynamic stochastic game. The firm enhances its reputation through…

Abstract

We model the interaction between a profit-maximizing firm and an activist using an infinite-horizon dynamic stochastic game. The firm enhances its reputation through “self-regulation”: voluntary provision of an abatement activity that reduces a negative externality. We show that in equilibrium the externality-reducing activity is subject to decreasing marginal returns, which can cause the firm to “coast on its reputation,” that is, decrease the level of externality-reducing activity as its reputation grows. The activist, which benefits from increases in the externality-reducing activity, can take two types of action that can harm the firm’s reputation: criticism, which can impair the firm’s reputation on the margin, and confrontation, which can trigger a crisis that may severely damage the firm’s reputation. The activist changes the reputational dynamics of the game by tending to keep the firm in reputational states in which it is highly motivated to invest in externality-reducing activity. Criticism and confrontational activity are shown to be imperfect substitutes. The more patient the activist or the more passionate it is about externality reduction, the more likely it is to rely on confrontation. The more patient the firm and the more important corporate citizenship is to firm’s brand equity, the more likely that it will be targeted by an activist that relies on confrontation.

Book part
Publication date: 18 November 2015

Ahmed Benmecheddal and Nil Özçaglar-Toulouse

The goal in this research is to offer a new interpretation of activism by focusing not on the various ideologies but on the order of worth that coordinates activism.

Abstract

Purpose

The goal in this research is to offer a new interpretation of activism by focusing not on the various ideologies but on the order of worth that coordinates activism.

Methodology/approach

Ethnographic approaches of participant observation and nondirective interviewing were the methods used in this study.

Findings

Drawing on the order models (Boltanski & Thévenot, 1991), the authors introduce the existence of an “activist order.” This order is composed of rules that coordinate activists’ practices. Activists draw on this “activist order” to justify their practices but also to criticize other orders such as the market order.

Originality/value

This “activist order” serves as the structure underpinning both activists’ institutional frameworks (such as CSA and LETS) and their actions (e.g., antiadvertising campaigns). This paper also has implications for our understanding of the relationship between the Marketplace and consumer movements. The authors demonstrate that people navigate between different order of worth, from the market order to the “activist order” and vice versa.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-323-5

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 6 September 2010

June Gin and Dorceta E. Taylor

Purpose – This chapter examines the factors that influence the ability of anti-gentrification movements to get media coverage for their core policy goals. It takes, as a…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter examines the factors that influence the ability of anti-gentrification movements to get media coverage for their core policy goals. It takes, as a point of departure, the suggestion that the media supports the growth machine and is not inclined to provide favorable coverage to movements trying to limit development.

Design/methodology/approach – In comparing six newspapers’ coverage of anti-gentrification movements in San Francisco's Mission District and West Oakland, we suggest a more nuanced theoretical understanding of media coverage of urban movements against development. The analysis of newspaper articles published in six Bay Area newspapers from 1995 to 2005 illustrates tremendous variations in favorability of coverage between the two movements.

Findings – There are also large variations in the extent to which movements’ core policy goals are represented in newspaper articles. Although the Mission District received more coverage than the West Oakland movement, the West Oakland movement was better able in getting its core policy goals into its coverage than the Mission District movement. The West Oakland movement was more effective in generating media attention for its core policy goals through its organized public protests than the Mission District movement.

Originality/value – This chapter adds to the genre of research analyzing newspaper coverage of social movements. It demonstrates that the coverage is more nuanced than previously reported. Factors such as phase in the movement and the framing of the issues are related to whether the media covers the story in a negative or positive manner.

Details

Environment and Social Justice: An International Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-183-2

Book part
Publication date: 22 May 2012

Rachel V. Kutz-Flamenbaum, Suzanne Staggenborg and Brittany J. Duncan

Purpose – Movements typically have great difficulty using the mass media to spread their messages to the public, given the media's greater power to impose their frames on…

Abstract

Purpose – Movements typically have great difficulty using the mass media to spread their messages to the public, given the media's greater power to impose their frames on movement activities and goals. In this paper, we look at the impact of the political context and media strategies of protesters against the 2009 G-20 meetings in Pittsburgh on media coverage of the protests.

Methodology – We employ field observations, interviews with activists and reporters, and a content analysis of print coverage of the demonstrations by the two local daily newspapers, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Findings – We find that protesters were relatively successful in influencing how they were portrayed in local newspaper stories and in developing a sympathetic image of their groups’ members. Specifically, we find that activist frames were present in newspaper coverage and activists were quoted as frequently as city officials.

Research implications – We argue that events such as the G-20 meetings provide protesters with opportunities to gain temporary “standing” with the media. During such times, activists can use tactics and frames to alter the balance of power in relations with the media and the state and to attract positive media coverage, particularly when activists develop strategies that are not exclusively focused on the media. We argue that a combination of political opportunities and activist media strategies enabled protest organizers to position themselves as central figures in the G-20 news story and leverage that position to build media interest, develop relationships with reporters, and influence newspaper coverage.

Details

Media, Movements, and Political Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-881-6

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 16 October 2018

Yang Zhang

Institutional actors are critical allies for grassroots movements, but few studies have examined their effects and variations within the non-democratic context. This…

Abstract

Institutional actors are critical allies for grassroots movements, but few studies have examined their effects and variations within the non-democratic context. This chapter argues that while institutional allies are heavily constrained and unlikely to give open endorsement to grassroot activists, some institutional activists indirectly facilitate movement mobilization and favorable outcomes in the process of advancing their own political agendas. Drawing upon in-depth interviews conducted in 2008 and 2012, I illustrate this argument by examining the Anti-PX Movement – a landmark grassroots environmental movement against a chemical plant – in Xiamen, China. I find that the environmental institutional actors were constrained and divided, yet some still fostered opportunities for movement mobilization and in turn exploited the opportunity created by the protesters to pursue their policy interests, thus facilitating positive movement outcomes. As long as the claims are not politically subversive to the authoritarian rule, this type of tacit and tactical interaction between institutional activists within the state and grassroot activists on the street is conducive to promoting progressive policy changes.

Details

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-895-2

Keywords

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