Hopeful futures? Examining the role of hope in young women’s future-making

Hopeful futures? Examining the role of hope in young women’s future-making

Hopeful futures? Examining the role of hope in young women’s future-making 
Signe Ravn

A significant body of research in the sociology of youth explores young people’s orientations to the future. Recently, scholars have emphasised that not only the past is closely tied to emotions, but that futures are too, underpinning calls for more attention to the affective dimensions of these future orientations. In this paper I draw on the work of Lauren Berlant and Jose Esteban Munoz to focus on the different ways in which hope is involved in future-making. Based on data from longitudinal, qualitative research with young women with interrupted formal education in Victoria, Australia, I approach hope both as a concrete practice and as affective orientation. I explore how hope is directed towards investments in education and work in particular, and how this may generate (cruel) optimism (Berlant) as well as ‘hopeful pessimism’ (Coleman). I also seek to explore how individuals sustain hope and the labour going into this, as well as the limits of hope; when it becomes near impossible to be hopeful. In this way, the paper seeks to demonstrate how hope operates at multiple levels and can be seen as both a necessary orientation in difficult times and a potentially problematic affective relation to futurity.

 About the presenter
Signe Ravn is a senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of Melbourne. She has recently finished her DECRA project on the everyday lives and imagined futures of young women with interrupted formal schooling and is now writing a book based on this research.

Building 146, RSSS, Room 4.66, Seminar Room
Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 895 5273 1296
Password: 0000

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Date & time

Mon 26 Jul 2021, 11am–12pm


RSSS building and via Zoom


Signe Ravn


Beck Pearse


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