This book champions social movements as one of the most influential agents that shape our conceptions of human rights.
Stammers argues that human rights cannot be properly understood outside of the context of social movement struggles. He explains how much of the literature on human rights has systematically obscured this link, consequently distorting our understandings of human rights.
Stammers identifies the contours of a new framework through which 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.