Politics of Hope: Transformation or Stagnation?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter discusses the politics of, by and through hope. Unanticipated global changes have triggered an intensified search for hope, which has become constructed as a response to and resource to draw on in uncertain circumstances. Through its promise of a better future, hope – as a basic human desire – has become a tool deployable for political ends. This chapter investigates how hope can be used not only to facilitate transformations but also to sustain oppressive practices. The chapter first outlines the (re)appearance of hope in research in the last two decades. It then goes on to bring together the current social scientific discussion on hope, politics and development, illustrating the growing political purchase of hope. Of particular interest is the hope–power nexus, which is analyzed with reference to the notion ‘politics of hope.’ As a political means for constructing visions of a better future, hope may enable and empower but it may also restrict and discipline. The power of hope lies in its equivocal nature: whereas in one case it may be tapped to drive transformation, in another it may well be harnessed to keep progress on hold. The contribution demonstrates that the future trajectory of hope has a far-reaching political significance for it enables politics to postpone changes today.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Transformative Global Studies
EditorsS.A. Hamed Hosseini, James Goodman, Sara C. Motta, Barry K. Gills
Place of PublicationAbingdon
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-47032-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-60112-3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

SeriesRoutledge International Handbooks

Field of science

  • International political science


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