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 2: Alternative futures: ‘Hope is a thing with feathers’

Martin Parker

Abstract

The author thinks ‘hope’ probably begins with a consciousness of boredom, of dull inevitability stretching into the future. The repetitions of the present are often so deadening in their rhythm and tone that it is easy enough to drift into daydreams in which something else might happen. Fantasy, romance and glamour are ways of escape from this boredom, and so are science fiction, utopianism and forms of radical politics that imagine a different future. These are methods of thinking and doing within which strangeness might erupt and lives lived inattentively become present to hand. In terms of organizing, the dominant forms in the global north (which can be summarized as ‘market managerial’) seek to produce a future in which the value produced by all production, consumption and exchange is captured by gigantic hierarchical structures. The language of ‘care’, ‘passion’, ‘choice’ and so on, routinely expressed by those who do the marketing and public relations for large organizations, is no more than an invitation to this capture. This, it seems to the author, is boring in the sense that it produces a future of more of the same. More inequality; more advertising; more carbon emissions; more hierarchy; more consumption; more waste; more dull jobs; more claims to be responsible, to care, to be passionate about choice. This is an organizational monoculture, a predictable landscape in which a fundamental repetition is camouflaged by bright colours, smiling faces and a soundtrack by someone who sounds like Coldplay. This is what leads the author and plenty of others to have daydreams about an alternative future, one in which a variety of forms of organizing produce difference. The author’s bet is on a bestiary of forms, on an irreducible pluralism which generates resilient and distinct economies.

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