As a universalist ideology, liberal humanism is under threat from the Othering forces of nativism and authoritarianism. However, through prominent international NGOs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, humanistic advocates still retain a significant capacity to shape global knowledge. This introduction conceptualises the global advocate as an agent of knowledge, engaged in the extraction, assemblage and transmission of phenomenal realities. Yet, despite NGO advocates’ claims to objectivity and independence, critical sociology reminds us that knowledge is always shaped and delimited by the historical and cultural contexts in which it is produced. Therefore, this introductory chapter emphasises the need to consider global advocates’ social and political dependencies, and how these mediate their epistemic limits. In spite of the romanticised image of the NGO activist speaking truth to power, their struggle for legitimacy incentivises a dependent mode of knowledge production that often favours conformity to dominant political logics.