Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program of Study

Communication - Corporate Communication



First Advisor

Minna Logemann

Second Advisor

Allison Hahn


The purpose of this thesis is to establish the difference between boycotting and canceling a corporation and what compels consumers to act. Consumer activism attempts to hold companies to account when a line, be it arbitrary or rational, is crossed, and these attempts are not always successful. However, when enough social pressure is exerted on a company via boycotting, depending on the wrongful act committed, accountability and change can be possible. I want to determine what some of the factors are that could compel customers to engage in consumer activism or boycott against a corporation and whether a corporation that has been “canceled” can redeem themselves in the eyes of the public. I posed two research questions and used five interview prompts to collect oral histories from five anonymous individuals about their exposure to and opinions on boycotting and cancel culture. The data analysis in this paper is qualitative and is designed so that the responses of the participants are natural and unstructured, creating a broad conversation around these two concepts. My research found that, despite some overlap in concept, cancel culture is more extreme than boycotting in that it attempts to silence corporate entities and remove them entirely from society, while the goal of boycotting is to enact change within a company’s practices.


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