Organizing Hope
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Organizing Hope

Narratives for a Better Future

Edited by Daniel Ericsson and Monika Kostera

Crumbling social institutions, disintegrating structures, and a profound sense of uncertainty are the signs of our time. In this book, this contemporary crisis is explored and illuminated, providing narratives that suggest how the notion of hope can be leveraged to create powerful methods of organizing for the future. Chapters first consider theoretical and philosophical perspectives on hopeful organizing, followed by both empirical discussions about achieving change and more imaginative narratives of alternative and utopian futures, including an exploration of the differing roles of work, creativity, idealism, inclusivity and activism.
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Chapter 8: ‘Hope-full purpose’: Time, oblivion, and the strange attractors of Pandora’s box

Richard Longman


Hope lacks an obvious conceptual clarity. Yet, as a defining feature of utopian thought, it suggests a potential for new social relations. To explore such potentiality, this chapter conceptualizes ‘hope-full purpose’ – a construction that suggests prefigurative acts which realize new social relations and, thus, reinvigorate organizing. This chapter also draws on the commons – not in Hardin’s tragic terms, but in those of Ostrom: full of hope and purpose. The argument is advanced with empirical work carried out online at Medium – a commoning community of social journalism. Analysis focuses on the hope and purpose found in individual members’ contributions. Through an exploration of ‘hope-full purpose’, the chapter argues that hope must remain a shared construct – one which facilitates the transition (as observed in acts of organizing) from individual to collective, and which renders it so potent in the pursuit of new social relations.

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