WS 102 ACTIVISM
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What is activism?
*Wikipedia defines activism as “intentional action to bring about social, political,
economic or environmental change.
*Thus activism requires an action/activity which is intended to create a change.
*Activism is usually based on a perceived injustice or some other social wrong.
How does activism work?
*Activism can include a very wide range of actions (aka “methods”) ranging from letter-
writing to boycotts, from parades to sit-ins. It can be completely passivist in
approach or based in violent uprisings.
*Methods also differ depending on the target audience. Some seek to change
government policies and laws, while others seek to change individual’s behaviour.
Lobbying and letter-writing may be appropriate to generate legal change, but will
be less persuasive with individuals. Media attention might be a more useful way to
gain the attention of a large # of individuals.
*Some methods which attempt to persuade individuals to change their attitude toward a
particular issue or behaviour may also be used to pressure institutions like
businesses or laws or governments to change. This has been true with the
environmental/conservation movement for example.
Feminism and activism
*Feminism is widely perceived as a form of activism.
*Feminism is actually comprised of a number of theories, issues and focal points, most
of which call for activist approaches.
*Feminism thus incorporates a wide variety of types of activism in attempting to achieve
First Wave forms of activism
Second Wave forms of activism
Third Wave forms of activism
*In the contemporary climate of “post feminism”, feminist activism is a subject of heavy
*Modern feminists and or women’s movements are based on the idea that women seem
to find themselves in an ongoing struggle to achieve full equality. Many women and
men today are still involved in feminist activism.
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