I'm reading an article in which they speak of activism. Is this word negative as often in French or does it simply refer to people with strong political views that they try to make people believe?

  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    We need some context and please name your source. The word isn't necessarily negative, of course: it depends on how you view whatever it is that people are being 'active';) about. And it doesn't have to be political activism.


    The article is about Earth Day, which is a date of environmental activities to raise awareness about pollution and things like that. And the sentence which drew my attention was:

    Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities.

    If you need more context: :)



    I always hear about activist attacks, which is definitely bad behaviour, and I found this definition of the word:

    the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc.

    For me this is clearly negative! Don't you think the same?


    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    It's a matter of opinion. If you feel demonstrations, protests, and other forms of political action are alway negative, then for you, "activism" will have a negative connotation. For other people, that is not necessarily the case.


    English - England
    Activism does imply a little more than writing a stern letter to the newspaper, however it takes many forms. It is that form that determines if "activism" is negative, positive or neutral. Activism has the nuance of "doing something that will create publicity in the furtherance of a cause."

    In your example "community activism" activism is moderated by "community" and is positive - it brings people together for mutual benefit. It is unlikely that the participants will set fire to a bank or riot in the street - they will simply take a greater interest in, and spend more time working for, the cause, marching with a banner, organising a talk on the matter, try and lobby local politicians, and perhaps report their efforts to the local press, etc. This is positive.
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