Publication International / Transnational - Globalization - Europe - America - Africa - Asia - Alternatives to Society Annotated Bibliography on Global Social Rights

A report on the current state of affairs





Carolina Vestena,


April 2017

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The present annotated bibliography on Global Social Rights (GSR) aims to offer a report on the current state of affairs on this issue, and also, to show how social movements have made the concept their own in order to fortify their struggles worldwide.

The bibliography addresses the following questions: how do social movements define global social rights? In which contexts is the concept realised? To what extent can GSR help to instigate and sustain social struggles? 

Social rights are extensively adopted in multiple contexts and fields and anchored in broader ideological frameworks. This bibliography sheds light on the approaches of protagonists who use social rights to confront social grievances in society.

The research and selection of texts was carried out in order to map the heterogeneous discourses about global social rights in the academic, social and political fields. The texts were categorised under three central axes:

  1. Institutional and legal basis of claims for social rights: normative foundations, legitimation and critique at the local and transnational levels.
  2. Social movements and experiences of contestation: theoretical and practical questions about the organisation of movements and their claims.
  3. Mobilisation and alliances for global social rights: local and transnational mobilisations for social rights, specific rights and struggles.

The first group of selected texts deals with the definition of human and social rights. They discuss the potentialities of transnational struggles using the content of GSR to create a democratic and socialist alliance with social movements and political actors. The texts of the second group handle issues related to the global justice movement, especially focusing on its role in the emergence of the anti-globalisation movement and the World Social Forum. The current status of these former movements and other contemporary mobilisations, such as the degrowth movement, is also considered. Finally, in the third group, a set of struggles and movements are analysed with regards to their specific interconnections with social rights. The features of social movements in times of precarisation and their organisation to oppose austerity policies are underlying sub-topics.

The texts have been selected from different sources, such as books, journals, manifests, interviews, and position papers in different languages. A list of additional literature is also provided, as well as a collection of organisations, movements, platforms, events and campaigns which offers some examples of mobilisation conducted by social protagonists around the world under the banner of social rights.

Enjoy reading!

Boris Kanzleiter, Director of the Center for International Dialogue and Cooperation at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung.

Kassel, 19 January 2017


  • Literature organised by topics
  • Abstracts
  • Literature organised by languages
  • Additional literature (with short comments)
  • List of organisations, social movements, platforms, campaigns and events

Carolina Vestena studied jurisprudence in Porto Alegre – Brazil. Affiliated with the doctoral research program on social human rights she is working on her PhD-thesis which focuses on struggles for social rights in times of austerity at the university of Kassel. She is editor of the journal «Revista Direito e Práxis (Law and Practice Journal)» of the Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro and founding member of the Institu for Law and Social Movements Brasil (Instituto de Pesquisa Direitos e Movimentos Sociais, IPDMS).