Difference Between Activism and Advocacy

Key Difference – Activism vs Advocacy
 

Activism and advocacy are tools that are used to bring about social or political changes. However, there is a distinctive difference between activism and advocacy based on the manner in which these changes are brought about. Advocacy refers to the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal whereas activism is the action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about change. This is the key difference between activism and advocacy.

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is an umbrella term that refers to the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal. Advocacy involves an individual or a group trying to influence decisions within economic, political, and social systems and institutions. It could also include many activities such as public speaking, media campaigns, doing research, petitions, meeting with government officials, etc. The Internet and social media are important platforms and strategies in modern advocacy,

People advocate for a large variety of social causes or topics, and some of these causes include civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, veganism, environmentalism, etc. Some of these are clear–cut social issues such as human trafficking, but some other issues like abortions may have strong support on both sides (both anti-abortion and pro-abortion). An advocate is a person who is engaged in advocacy.

Key Difference - Activism vs Advocacy

What is Activism?

Activism can be described as a form of advocacy since it also involves promoting or supporting social and political changes. Activism can be defined as “the use of direct, often confrontational action, such as a demonstration or strike, in opposition to or support of a cause” (American Heritage Dictionary).

Activism includes various actives such as strikes, boycotts, rallies, street marches, sit-ins, and hunger strikes. An activist is a person who is engaged in activism. Most people associate activism with working outside the system since it mostly includes direct confrontational and radical actions. Women’s suffrage movements, different union activities, etc. are some examples of activism.

Difference Between Activism and Advocacy

What is the difference between Activism and Advocacy?

Definition:

Activism is the use of direct, often confrontational action in opposition to or support of a cause.

Advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal

System:

Activism may involve working outside the system.

Advocacy may involve working within the system.

Connotations:

Activism is associated with radical, direct and confrontational actions.

Advocacy is associated with official and less confrontational actions.

Activities:

Activism may involve activities like boycotts, strikes, rallies, street marches, etc.

Advocacy involves public speaking, petitions, conducting and publishing research, media campaigns, etc.

Person Involved:

An activist is a person who is engaged in activism.

An advocate is a person who is engaged in advocacy.

Image Courtesy:

“Student activists on PUP” By Ace_Mendiola (talk) (Uploads) – Ace_Mendiola (talk) (Uploads) (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

“Microphone advocacy summit” by Federation European Cyclists’ (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr