Hope assemblages: destabilizing the ontology of the present (at the EASA Conference)

On 22/01/2012 by Adolfo

I will be discussing in the EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists) Conference, to be held in the Nanterre University (France) on July, a second presentation under the title Hope assemblages: destabilizing the ontology of the present (the first one in collaboration with Alberto Corsín on the #spanishrevolution or ‘indignados movement’) in which I discuss part of my PhD dissertation.  It will be part of the ‘Etnographies of hope’. You can read the abstract below:

The Internet and digital technologies have been accompanied by expectations portraying visions of a future of social transformation for the last decades. My presentation draws on and ethnography of a group of passionate bloggers; people who get intensively involved on the Internet elaborating blogs and expecting to transform mass media and politics through their practice. I discuss how hope emerges in their everyday engagement with Internet technologies, trying to shed light on the material dimension of their orientation to the future. Fieldwork was developed in Spain during 2006 and 2007.

Describing bloggers material daily practices I show how bloggers’ expectations are based on the production of present facts that are preserved on the Internet and provide the materials for imagining new futures. In this dual work or preserving the past and imagining a different future hope emerges as a relational effect, an assemblage of heterogeneous entities that displaces traditional conceptions of hope from inside individuals to the material arrangements in which they are engaged.

Sociology of expectations (a domain in the field of Science and Technologies Studies) tells us that future expectations of technology are part of what an entity is in the present. Taking this assumption and drawing on an ontological vocabulary I further describe hope assemblages as particular material arrangement that provides the conditions of possibility for imagining different futures that destabilize the ontology of the present.

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