The OED defines “boycott” in its noun form as follows: “Withdrawal from social or commercial interaction or cooperation with a group, nation, person, etc., intended as a protest or punishment” and also “a refusal to buy certain goods or participate in a particular event, as a form of protest or punishment.” Also a verb, “boycott” is used to describe a non-violent tactic directed at inflicting economic loss, expressing principled outrage, and/or changing or ending practices considered harmful or unjust. Boycotts can refer to protests undertaken for a range of often overlapping ethical, social, political or environmental reasons: to change legislation; to challenge the legitimacy of nation states (including an occupying power); to counter corporate malfeasance; to protest racial, religious, ideological or ethnic groups or practices; to contest forms of repression; and to protest individuals with power.

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