- Hope dies last: two aspects of hope in contemporary Moscow
- Anthropological Theory
- Volume | Issue number
- 9 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The concept of hope has, for the most part, been neglected by anthropologists. Recently, however, hope has been analyzed by two prominent anthropologists who view it either as a passive attitude or a future-oriented stance toward a good. My research in Moscow, Russia, suggests that hope is not so easily conceived. In this article I suggest that hope is more precisely understood as having two aspects: persevering hope as the temporal structure of unreflective being-in-the-world, and active hope as the temporal orientation of intentional and ethical action. In exploring the ways in which my interlocutors describe hope, I critically engage not only conceptions of hope as passive, but also those that view it as utopian. The majority of my Muscovite interlocutors simply hoped for what they called ‘a normal life’ consisting of, for example, a family, a career, and stability. I suggest that such hoping demystifies the common understanding of hope as both passive and utopian and makes it available to anthropologists as a concept for understanding everyday human practices.
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