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Advocacy is the process of representing the cause of an individual or group to ensure their case is heard. It can be an umbrella term for organized activism related to a particular set of issues.

Advocacy is expected to be unbiased and participated in in good faith, though it is sometimes tainted by use of propaganda.

Individual advocacy occurs in health settings, where patient advocates can be involved in negotiations about care etc. In other instances, an individual may act as a lobbyist, on their own account, or on behalf of a corporation or industry.

At the group level it is almost always organized into or by an advocacy group or special interests. Political advocacy may be understood more completely when it is compared with economic, religious, or academic advocacies; and when it is contrasted with the features of propaganda and indoctrination.

Effectiveness compared to direct action

In 2004, a study by University of Washington sociologist Jon Agnone, compared the number of bills passed between 1960 and 1994 by the U.S. Congress with tactics used by 'green' groups within the same year. The study showed each protest raised the number of pro-environment bills passed by 2.2%, whereas neither efforts at conventional lobbying on Capitol Hill nor aimed at affecting the state of public opinion made any difference. The study concluded that direct action, like protests at public venues or disrupting political events, is more likely to influence environmental policy than talking to politicians.

External links

  • Public Private Dialogue A resource for advocacy practitioners wishing to promote policy reforms through dialogue (sponsored by World Bank, IFC, OCED, DFID, GTZ)

Specific types of advocacy

See also

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