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Refusing to fail: hope/aspiration as labour II 
Yang Yang (Nanjing University)
Catrin Evans (University of Bedfordshire)
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Ana Gutierrez Garza (University of St Andrews)
Irresponsibility and Failure
Thursday 1 April, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

Focusing on the affective labour of marginalised people in diverse contexts, this panel will critically discuss a less explored dimension of hope/aspiration. How are 'who fails' and 'who refuses to fail' contested when struggling persons refuse to perform their labouring role?

Long Abstract:

Various forms of deprivation, from lack of citizenship to economic disempowerment, leave a vacuum of rights and capital in many people's lives. These people are engaged in political, economic and affective struggles. In these moments 'hope' has been argued to provide a method (Miyazaki), a futural momentum (Knight), an intentional ethical action (Zigon), and intersubjective bonds between individuals (Marcel). 'Aspiration' has also been positioned as a site for psychological deliverance and potential empowerment (Appadurai) and contested thereafter. Drawing on these discussions on hope/aspiration and Andrea Muehlebach's notion of 'affective labour' as an exploitable pathway to belonging, this panel will explore how the regimes of hope/aspiration can dismiss marginalised people's affective labour as their means of coping with vulnerability and marginality. Examples might be the empathic labour enacted by individuals within the UK asylum system as part of a performance of integration, or the aspirational labour undertaken by art practitioners against a backdrop of precarious living and economic austerity in the UK. We invite contributions exploring the following questions: 1) How and where do various forms of affective labour manifest themselves, responding to various forms of institutionalised marginalisation? 2) How are 'who fails' and 'who refuses to fail' contested when struggling persons refuse to perform their labouring role? 3) What are the limits of terms such as 'hope' and 'aspiration' in understanding the life-projects and life-struggles of our contemporaries?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 April, 2021, -