Nowadays, in times of the digital age and advanced communication technologies, it is not easy to imagine a world without any kind of social activism. Activism is a deliberate action by an individual or group aimed at directing or promoting social, economic, environmental, or political change in the local or global perspective. In other words, it is about actions that are taken by people who believe in and support any change in society.
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In general, activists join extensive social movements that involve proactive people into a relatively large group of adherents who engage in social movement strategies and tactics. For instance, the Civil Rights movement, the Arab Spring demonstrations, and the Black Lives Matters movement are great examples of activists’ efforts to fight for social justice and equality (Tran, 2017). Nevertheless, some activists are engaged in lobbying to politically affect the decisions of public institutions and politicians, while others, like Greta Thunberg, join movements to stop climate change. Thus, activism is a vast concept that comprises efforts to challenge or resist the established way of doing or perceiving something in different fields of human life.
In terms of social activism, the most effective strategies at the moment are nonviolent resistance (or action) and social media activism. Nonviolent resistance is the type of peaceful fight for particular social change achieved by nonviolent tactics. The list of tactics includes protests (petitions, picketings, vigils), disobedience (strikes, boycotts), and interventions (sit-ins, nonviolent sabotage). Bethke and Pinckney (2019) argue that democratic transitions that were initiated by peaceful activities enhance democratic development, especially the quality of speech. As practice showed, this strategy can consolidate people and lead to essential social change.
Nevertheless, nonviolent activism often evolves in or causes a violent response from the government or other opponents. For instance, the Civil Rights movement that was initially peaceful then saw the Black Panthers using violent tactics to secure the movement (Tran, 2017). Social media activism is excellent in showing solidarity and increasing awareness of particular issues through the use of campaigns and hashtags. With the help of the Internet and social media platforms, people are able to support the movement and put pressure on the government or other resisting parties (Reid & Sehl, 2020). However, the majority of online activists who join the trend are not really active, whereas to be successful, the social media campaign should be backed with donations and concrete actions.
Bethke, F. S., & Pinckney, J. (2019). Nonviolent resistance and the quality of democracy. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 1-21. Web.
Reid, A., & Sehl, K. (2020). Genuine social media activism: A guide for going beyond the hashtag. Hootsuite. Web.
Tran, K. (2017). Four ways we need to rethink violence and activism today. Everyday Feminism. Web.
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