The political potential of radical hope

Authors: Jouni Hakli*, Tampere University, Kirsi Pauliina Kallio*, Tampere University, Isabel Meier, Tampere University
Topics: Migration, Political Geography, Geographic Theory
Keywords: asylum, refugee, political agency, potentiality, everyday life, radical hope
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Silver, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Majestic Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Working with people in precarious situations, we have sought to understand subtle forms of political agency, often actualizing as part of everyday living but also including loosely organized activities. Specific to these agencies is that they are seldom identified as political – and least by those enacting them. Many asylum seekers and refugees explicitly dissociate themselves from politics and specific forms of activism, and instead focus on coping with their everyday precarity that takes up most of their energy. Hence, with often little faith in exerting change though public protest, many asylum seekers and refugees seem politically passive. However, beyond conventional forms of activism there are ways to keep open political possibilities through a practice that we conceptualize as radical hope. In this paper we reflect upon how to understand the political potential in agency that appears to turn its back to what conventionally is understood as activism, resistance and politics.

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