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This article is about promotion of a cause or point of view. For legal representation, see Advocate.

Advocacy is a political process by an individual or group which aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or conducting exit poll or the filing of an amicus brief. Lobbying (often by lobby groups) is a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics.[1] Research has started unfolding how advocacy groups in the U.S.[2] and Canada[3] are using social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action.

Forms of advocacy[edit]

There are several forms of advocacy, each representing a different approach in a way to initiate changes in the society. One of the most popular forms is social justice advocacy.

Although it is true, the initial definition does not encompass the notions of power relations, people’s participation and a vision of a just society as promoted by social justice advocates. For them, advocacy represents the series of actions taken and issues highlighted to change the “what is” into a “what should be”, considering that this “what should be” is a more decent and a more just society (ib., 2001.)[full citation needed]. Those actions, which vary with the political, economic and social environment in which they are conducted, have several points in common (ib., 2001.)[full citation needed]. They:

Some of the other forms of advocacy include:


Different contexts in which advocacy is used:

Advocacy groups[edit]

See also: Advocacy group

Transnational advocacy[edit]

Advocates and advocacy groups represent a wide range of categories and support several issues as listed on The Advocacy Institute,[6] a US-based global organization, is dedicated to strengthening the capacity of political, social, and economic justice advocates to influence and change public policy.[7]

The phenomenon of globalization draws a special attention to advocacy beyond countries’ borders. The core existence of networks such as World Advocacy or the Advocacy Institute demonstrates the increasing importance of transnational advocacy and international advocacy. Transnational advocacy networks are more likely to emerge around issues where external influence is necessary to ease the communication between internal groups and their own government. Groups of advocates willing to further their mission also tend to promote networks and to meet with their internal counterparts to exchange ideas.[8] Advocacy in all its forms seeks to ensure that people, particularly those who are most vulnerable in society, are able to:

Have their voice heard on issues that are important to them. Defend and safeguard their rights. Have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives. Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to:

Express their views and concerns. Access information and services. Defend and promote their rights and responsibilities. Explore choices and options An advocate is someone who provides advocacy support when you need it. An advocate might help you access information you need or go with you to meetings or interviews, in a supportive role. You may want your advocate to write letters on your behalf, or speak for you in situations where you don’t feel able to speak for yourself.

Our advocates will spend time with you to get to know your views and wishes.

Advocacy can be helpful in all kinds of situations where you:

Find it difficult to make your views known. Need other people listen to you and take your views into account.

Advocacy and the Internet[edit]

For more than ten years, groups involved in advocacy work have been using the Internet to accomplish organizational goals. It has been argued that the Internet helps to increase the speed, reach and effectiveness of advocacy-related communication as well as mobilization efforts, suggesting that social media are beneficial to the advocacy community.[3][9][10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lobbying Versus Advocacy: Legal Definitions". NP Action. Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  2. ^ Obar, Jonathan, et al (2012). "Advocacy 2.0: An Analysis of How Advocacy Groups in the United States Perceive and Use Social Media as Tools for Facilitating Civic Engagement and Collective Action". Journal of Information Policy. 
  3. ^ a b Obar, Jonathan. "Canadian Advocacy 2.0: A Study of Social Media Use by Social Movement Groups and Activists in Canada". Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Loue, S.; Lloyd, L.S.; O'Shea, D.J. (2003). Community health advocacy. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.[page needed]. 
  5. ^ Asbridge, M. (2004). "Public place restrictions on smoking in Canada: assessing the role of the state, media, science and public health advocacy". Social science & medicine 58 (1): 13–24. doi:10.1016/s0277-9536(03)00154-0. PMID 14572918. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Cohen, D.; de la Vega, R.; Watson, G. (2001). Advocacy for social justice. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press.[page needed]. 
  8. ^ Keck, M.E.; Sikkink, K. (1998). Activists beyond borders: advocacy networks in international politics. Baltimore, MD: Cornell University Press.[page needed]. 
  9. ^ Ope;, J.A.M. (1999). "From the Streets to the Internet: The Cyber-Diffusion of Contention". Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 566: 132–143. doi:10.1177/0002716299566001011. 
  10. ^ Eaton, M. (2010). "Manufacturing Community in an Online Activity Organization: The Rhetoric of’s E-mails". Information, Communication and Society 13 (2): 174–192. doi:10.1080/13691180902890125. 
  11. ^ Obar, J.A.; Zube, P.; Lampe, C. (2012). "Advocacy 2.0: An analysis of how advocacy groups in the United States perceive and use social media as tools for facilitating civic engagement and collective action". Journal of Information Policy 2: 1–25. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1956352. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]