European Association of Anthropologists biannual conference 2010.
Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010
Workshop 16: Envisioning the future, and hope
Great upheavals require a reimagining of past, present and future. Re-writings of the past that legitimise the new/old order contain narratives of the future thus providing for hope. Papers may explore the production, revision, or loss and destruction of hope through narratives of the future.
Great upheavals and crisis always require a reimagining of past, present and future. If not destroying or damaging the political, economical or social order that existed, they often at least question their legitimisation and meaning. Most clearly this is visible in a re-writing of the past that often serves to legitimise the new or old order in the present. These re-writings or reviews of the past that serve political purposes in the present also always contain within them narratives of the future thus providing for hope. Governments for example may thus create narratives of the nation that sustain their own legitimacy through giving hope for 'better' lives now and into the future to their subjects. Similarly, other leading elites or institutions produce narratives pointing from a past to a future to secure followers and support.
This workshop seeks to explore how groups, institutions, political parties, governments or states create futures in order to deal with upheavals or crises. It will consider how these futures are used to motivate people to engage with the institution in question. It may also consider the impact of lost hopes or despair on people's relationship to their leaders. Following Appadurai's argument that modern-day democracy is linked to hope, the workshop invites in particular papers, which explore questions of producing, re-writing, revising, or loosing and destructing hope through narratives of the future within democratic nation-states, whatever democratic may mean.
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