Keep Hoping, Keep Going: Towards a Hopeful Sociology of Creative Work

Ana Alacovska*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article explores the relationship between future-oriented temporality and precarity in creative work. Existing sociological studies implicitly assume an unproblematic causal link between creative workers’ future-orientation and their precarity, subjugation and exploitation. This article problematizes this link and offers a more nuanced reassessment of creative work’s futurity by arguing for the analytical potential of the notion of hope in gaining a better understanding of creative workers’ hopeful – affective, practical and moral – responses to conditions of protracted precarity. Building on theories of hope, the article conceptualizes hope both as an existential affective stance and an active moral practice oriented towards the present – an orientation that enables workers to keep going in spite of economic hardship and job uncertainty. From ‘an atypical case’ study of creative work in South-East Europe, hope emerges empirically as the central quotidian practice of coping with precarity. Three practices of hope are discussed: (1) hope as therapeutic practice; (2) hope as informal labour practice; and (3) hope as socially engaged arts practice. In so doing, the article explores the possibilities of practising ‘a hopeful sociology’ of creative work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Review
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1118-1136
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • Creative industries
  • Creative work
  • Cultural work
  • Future
  • Futurity
  • Hope
  • Precarious labour
  • Precarity
  • Temporality
  • Time

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