The Work of Hope: Spiritualizing, Hustling and Waiting in the Creative Industries in Ghana

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This paper examines the dynamics of hope in creative industries in the city of Accra in Ghana. Building on theoretical insights from geography, anthropology and sociology that have mobilized the concept of hope as an analytical category, we examine the economic actions and entrepreneurial behaviour of creative entrepreneurs working in “precarious geographies”, i.e. locations where precarity is not a deviation from the norm but a constant and longstanding feature. Drawing on in-depth interviews, we contend that in conditions of radical and pervasive precarity, hope represents a distinct form of work in which the potentialities of the moment extend the present into the future, while the future, however hazy and unimaginable, affects the economic vitality of the present. By unpacking three dominant practices of hopeful orientation to futurity enacted by creative workers in Accra, namely hustling, waiting, and spiritualizing, we demonstrate the usefulness of hope as a concept in analysing economic action and labour dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)619-637
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 6. October 2020


  • Creative industries
  • Creative work
  • Creative entrepreneurship
  • Ghana
  • Hope

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