The Pub, the People, the Place, the Passions, and the Principles: The Social and Personal Context of Engagement in a Collective Action

Sparks, Paul; Farsides, Tom
June 2009
Journal of Community Engagement & Scholarship;Jun2009, Vol. 2 Issue 1, p40
Academic Journal
Towards the end of 2006 the owners of a small, historic public house withdrew from sale the locally produced beer that had been sold there for many years. Pub regulars instigated a boycott in an attempt to have the beer reinstated. Following a four-month widely supported boycott and considerable media coverage, the pub company owners returned the local beer to the pub. This paper reports on a selection of the experiences of some of those taking an active role in the boycott. Following intensive semi-structured interviews, we extracted a number of themes from participants' accounts. We identify potentially important factors in the "causal net," explaining their involvement in the boycott. Affective experience, collective interests, and deontological considerations [the obligation to do the right thing even if doing so could be personally damaging] emerge as important dimensions of people's discussion of their participation. The findings are discussed in relation to theoretical perspectives bearing on an understanding of action choices.


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