A boycott is a form of consumer activism that involves voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with someone or some other organization as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons. The word entered the English lexicon during the Irish Land War and is based on the name of Captain Charles Boycott, the estate agent of an absentee, who was subject to ostracism organized by the Irish Land League in 1880. That year, protesting tenants demanded a substantial reduction in rent from Boycott, who not only refused but also evicted them from the land. Rather than resorting to violence, everyone in the locality refused to deal with him—local businessmen stopped trading with him, and even the local postman refused to deliver his mail. The ...

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