‘Hope-full purpose’: Time, oblivion, and the strange attractors of Pandora’s box

Longman, Richard (2019). ‘Hope-full purpose’: Time, oblivion, and the strange attractors of Pandora’s box. In: Ericsson, Daniel and Kostera, Monika eds. Organizing hope: Narratives for a better future. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 85–95.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4337/9781788979443.00016


Hope lacks an obvious conceptual clarity. Yet, as a defining feature of utopian thought, it suggests a potential for new social relations (Levitas, 2010). To explore such potentiality, this chapter conceptualises “hope-full purpose”—a construction that suggests prefigurative acts which realise new social relations and, thus, reinvigorate organizing. This chapter also draws on the commons— not in Hardin’s (1968) tragic terms, but as per Ostrom (1990): full of hope and purpose. The argument is advanced with empirical work carried out online at Medium—a commoning community of social journalism (www.medium.com). 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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