This book champions social movements as one of the most influential agents that shape our conceptions of human rights.
It argues that human rights cannot be understood outside of the context of social movement struggles. It explains how much of the literature on human rights has systematically obscured this link, consequently distorting our understandings of human rights.
Neil Stammers shows how human rights can be understood. He suggests that what he calls the 'paradox of institutionalisation' can only be addressed through a recognition of the importance of human rights arising out of grassroots activism, and through processes of institutional democratisation.
Neil Stammers is Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex. He is the author of Civil Liberties in Britain During the Second World War (1983), and co-editor of Global Activism, Global Media (Pluto Press, 2005).
Acknowledgements List of Figures Introduction 1. Getting Beyond the Hall of Mirrors 2. The 'Sociality' Of Natural Rights 3. The Lost Nineteenth Century 4. The Paradox of Institutionalisation 5. New Movements? Old Wrongs? 6. Expressive and Instrumental Dimensions of Movement Activism 7. Analyses of Globalisation and Human Rights 8. Renewing the Challenge to Power Notes Bibliography Index