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 13: Technologies of the commune: A bridge over troubled water?

Daniel Ericsson


‘Know yourself’ is the fundamental knowledge principle in the modern world, which superseded, and was once interwoven with, the (now forgotten) Graeco-Roman principle of ‘Take care of yourself.’ In Foucault’s analysis of the different hermeneutical ‘truth games’ played out through history by human beings trying to understand themselves, certain techniques are highlighted such as confession, meditation and dream interpretation. Techniques such as these Foucault calls ‘technologies of the self’. In this chapter it is argued that the capitalist regime (and its many problems) thrives upon a very specific blend of Christian and Stoic technologies of the self, and that it is organized accordingly. On the one hand, the capitalist regime rests upon Christian obedience, the sacrifice of oneself by complete subordination; and, on the other hand, it presupposes Stoic logoi, the teaching of oneself by passively listening to the voice of the master, memorizing what is said and converting this into rules of conduct, and Stoic gymnasia, the training of oneself by physical abstinence and privation in order to test the independency of the individual. From the perspective of these capitalist technologies of the self, an alternative epistemology is narrated in the chapter. Tentatively it is conceptualized in terms of ‘technologies of the commune’, and it represents an emancipatory epistemology that is neither self-centred nor directed towards self-discipline.

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