A Critical Theory of Hope



12 February 2019


University of Bath


Ana Cecilia Dinerstein


In this seminar, Ana Cecilia Dinerstein explores the limitations of contemporary neo Adornian critiques of society, challenging the view that ‘there cannot be a political practice to fight Barbarism (Bonefeld). Here, Dr Dinerstein suggests that such practice is not only possible but necessary and is being developed at the grassroots around the crisis of the social reproduction of life. Dr Dinerstein illustrates her argument with examples from The Art of Organising Hope projects in Mexico and Belgium, offering some ideas that can contribute to the development of a critical theory of hope based on Bloch’s philosophy. While neo-Adornian critical theory lacks a ‘front’, the critical theory of hope proposed by Dinerstein brings a front to the “world without Front”’ (Bloch 1959). This means, it brings openness to a world where there is no place from where ‘to enunciate or engage in responses to ‘badly existing’ realities to alter them. The critical theory of hope amends Adorno’s over-appreciation of theory over practice within social praxis, and transforms the critique of political economy as a critique of society into a prefigurative critique of political economy, that engages with the ontology of the “not yet” reality offered by Bloch. The critical theory of hope brings a front to the struggles for alternative forms of the social reproduction of life in a wrecked world.