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 9: Against organization – farewell to hope?

George Cairns


Pondering notions of hope and organization, I argue that the way to some better social order requires initial engagement in a programme of destruction – destruction of notions of hope in organization (and politics and religion) as perceived within current structures of power. Such a proposal is characterized by risk – that the destruction is too limited or fails to materialize . . . or is complete and irreversible. I argue for destruction of conceptualizations of organization where these exclude consideration of the lived experiences of others outside of their boundaries who are impacted by them. Without such a fundamental reconstitution of organization, I see no possibility of resurgence of hope for humanity. My thinking draws on Guillet de Monthoux’s writings on anarchism, particularly on the term’s appropriation by and incorporation into the agenda of neoliberalism in the USA – as a basis for the self-motivated and self-interested capitalist individual. However, he also argued for anarchism’s value as informant of action, if we have awareness that (like critical management?) it can be absorbed, ‘re-branded’, ignored or suppressed at will by dominant orders. I consider that we must adopt an intellectual approach of disrupting extant understandings of organization and hope to prompt new critical (not just ‘critical management’) reflections on our positions within these, and of others outside them. I argue that an anarchistic approach to reconstituting organization in search of hope for humanity can – and should – draw inspirations and ideas from all sources, even those that seem to be intellectually opposed to it.

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