Reflections on Hope as a Category of Social and Psychological Analysis

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Essay Excerpt

“My aim is not to come up with a definition of hope nor to lay bare its structure the way, say, Jacques Lacan (1966: esp. 181, 268, 518) attempts to lay bare the structure of desire. My aim is more modest, tentative and ethnographically reflexive. I want to delineate some of the parameters of what we take to be hope and to reflect on its possible usage in ethnographic and other cultural and psychological descriptions—in other words, to look critically (insofar as that is possible) at the discursive and metadiscursive range of ‘hope.’ My approach, then, is panoramic. I am not driven by a single argument. Indeed, I make many arguments, some of them digressive. I depend on the montage, on the disquiet produced by the juxtaposition of events, images, and theories that are not easily coordinated. (Perhaps I exaggerate.) I want, in any case, to resist easy paraphrase.”

“Reflections on Hope as a Category of Social and Psychological Analysis," by Vincent Crapanzano (2003, 4).

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