Toxic feminism: Hope and hopelessness after feminism

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The concept of hope possesses a split temporal structure, at once looking towards a future that would be different from the present, while nevertheless drawing upon the promise of present figures and concepts. In this article, the author argues that hope is intoxicating in two senses. Hope in its futural trajectory tends to ameliorate the current state of play, and therefore tends towards the limitation of the imagination, providing a lure or alibi. Hope in its disjunction from the present nevertheless precludes the present from coinciding with itself. The concept of woman is therefore tied to the structure of hope insofar as it is at once essential for any radical politics to have some claim, from the present, for the future; and yet woman also prevents that future from being absolutely open. Hope intoxicates through its promise, but also poisons (or immunizes) against some of the greater potentials of the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
JournalJournal for Cultural Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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