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Philosophy General

Hope Under Oppression

by (author) Katie Stockdale

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Jul 2021
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2021
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2021
    List Price

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We have all been told, at one time or another, to "never give up hope." It's a common injunction to children, but as we grow older, sustaining hope becomes more challenging, particularly in a world we come to see as often frightening, dark, and unjust. But what is this thing "hope," and why is hope so valuable that we are so often urged to preserve and protect it?

This book explores the nature and essential role of hope in human life under conditions of oppression. Oppression is often a threat and damage to hope, yet many members of oppressed groups, including prominent activists pursuing a more just world, find hope valuable and even essential to their personal and political lives. Katie Stockdale offers a unique evaluative framework for hope that captures its intrinsic value, the rationality and morality of hope, and ultimately how we can hope well in the non-ideal world we share. She develops an account of the relationship between hope and anger about oppression and argues that when people are angry about oppression, they tend to also harbour hope for repair. When people's hopes for repair are not realized, as is often the case for those who are oppressed, their anger can evolve into bitterness. They feel unresolved anger as a result of losing hope that injustice will be sufficiently acknowledged and addressed.

Fortunately, things do not have to be this way. Even when people may feel that they have lost all hope, faith can help them to be resilient in the face of oppression. They can join with others who share their experiences or commitments for a better world, uniting with them in collective action. By doing so, they can strengthen hope for the future when hope might otherwise be lost.

Ultimately, this work illustrates the crucial value of hope for both individuals and collectives in the pursuit of justice, and in an increasingly uncertain world.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Katie Stockdale is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Victoria. Her research is currently on the nature, value, and role of emotions in moral, social, and political life.