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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.