Get access

Hope Movements: Naming Mobilization in a Post-development World


  • Ana Cecilia Dinerstein,

    1. teaches political sociology at the Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK (e-mail: Her research focuses on movements of protest, emancipation and the politics of policy. Her publications include The Labour Debate (Ashgate, 2002), The Piqueteros’ Road (Capital Intellectual, 2010) and numerous articles on Argentine politics and the movement of unemployed workers' and Latin American autonomous movements.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Séverine Deneulin

    1. is a lecturer in international development at the Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK (e-mail: She conducts research in the area of development theory, ethics and religion. Her publications include An Introduction to the Human Development and Capability Approach (Earthscan, 2009), Religion in Development (Zed, 2009) and numerous articles on Amartya Sen's Capability approach.
    Search for more papers by this author

We are grateful to the four anonymous referees for the insightful suggestions made on the first version of this article. We acknowledge the financial support of the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the Non-Governmental Public Action Programme (RES 155–25-0007) provided to one of the authors, which funded the research on the Zapatistas. For their comments on earlier versions, we thank the participants to the Human Development and Capability Association Conference (21–23 September 2010, Amman), the 3rd Latin American and European Meeting on Organization Studies (LAEMOS) (7–10 April 2010, Buenos Aires), the UK Development Studies Association Conference (5 November 2010, London), the Centre for Development Studies Research Seminar (6 October 2010, Bath) and the School for Doctoral Studies Research Seminar, Faculty of Humanities and Education, University of La Plata, Argentina (26 August 2011, La Plata).


Social mobilizations that are devoted to contesting development and creating alternative economic arrangements conducive to the pursuit of a dignified life have recently sprung up. Not only do they criticize the current state of affairs but they actively seek and experience new ways of living, inspired by what Bloch calls the anticipatory consciousness of the ‘not-yet-become’, that is, another reality not yet materialized but which can be already experienced. This article argues that these mobilizations are not adequately captured by the term ‘social movements’. The uniqueness of these mobilizations requires a conceptual and epistemological turn that is able to accommodate the post-development critique of development as well as their emancipatory dimension. We propose to name them ‘hope movements’ to account for the collective action directed to anticipate, imperfectly, alternative realities that arise from the openness of the present one. We conclude by discussing the political relevance of hope movements for the pursuit of the good life as an alternative to development.

Get access to the full text of this article