The study of human rights practice: State of the art

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This essay offers a ‘state of the art’ of the study of human rights practice. It begins with delineating human rights practice as an academic perspective, defining its distinct research questions and approaches, and noting in particular the influence of sociological and anthropological standpoints on its development. The essay proceeds by exploring the study of human rights practice as a form of activist-scholarship—bridging the world of academia and practice—and the strengths and risks that such a position entails, and later by characterizing this type of research as a self-critical project, utilizing an insider perspective to identify the weaknesses of the human rights framework but also to avoid abstract gloomy generalizations. The concluding section identifies the themes of pragmatism and radical hope and introduces the contributions to this special issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-295
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Human Rights Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Anthropology of human rights
  • Human rights organizations
  • Human rights scholarship
  • Social movements
  • Sociology of human rights

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'The study of human rights practice: State of the art'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this