Anti-corporate activism and market change: the role of contentious valuations
Social Movement Studies
399 - 416 p.
anti-corporate activism, markets, social change, valuation
The contentiousness of markets has recently been assessed by the social movements literature. Activists can use a broad range of tactics to compel corporations to change their practices. This paper examines the outcomes of this contentiousness. It draws on an empirical study of a disruptive tactic used by anti-corporate activists: the shame-on-you prize. I propose to adopt an economic sociological perspective to understand the mechanisms by which social movement organizations seek to undermine the values that underpin the economic order. Activists provide new categories for valuating economic activities that challenge the existing ones. Social movement organizations legitimate these valuations as coming from civil society and reflecting public expectations about what should count in valuations of economic activities. As such, they may encourage public decision-makers to undertake regulatory action.