Schwerpunktredaktion: Sebastian Garbe, Corinna Land, Eva Gerharz

Struggles for Hope: Negotiating Future(s) in Times of Global Crises


Focus and rationale

The Special Issue explores the diversity of visions and practices of future-making in the global, multifaceted crisis of capitalist/colonial modernity. It seeks to illuminate social contestations, imaginations, and negotiations over collective futures: What kind of future is likely, what is desirable, and what are possible ways to shape tomorrow’s society? What are people’s hopes, fears, ideas and strategies for a social transformation?
Confronted with capitalist crises, climate change, pandemics, political violence, and war, people all over the world reflect on and struggle for different futures. On the one hand, a sense of rising threats and uncertainty spurs anxieties and apocalyptic visions. On the other, moments of crisis and failure may open the space to renegotiate social change and to (re)create diverse hopes for the future (Traverso 2017). Against this background and after the “rise and decline of future studies” in the 20th century (Seefried 2015), research on the future is gaining new momentum, both within sociology and as an inter- and trans-disciplinary field of academic inquiry across the social sciences and humanities (Brown/Rappert/Webster 2000; Fischer 2009; Andersson/Kemp 2021; Schulz 2016).
In accordance with Markus Schulz (2016: 8), we contend that “[f]utures research can be understood as that part of sociology that is focused on the dynamics of future making and imagination, current trends, likely and possible scenarios, and their social implications.” While the issue of possible future(s) of society has been present in sociological reasoning from the very beginning of the discipline, it has been absent in debates and curricula for several decades. With this special issue we contribute to current attempts to bring the future back in. Yet, in contrast to those trends within contemporary future(s) studies that are interested in developing forecasts or mapping out possible future scenarios, we ask how future imaginations are socially constructed and negotiated: How do social actors at the grassroots shape the heterogeneity of visions and future-making practices, and how do their struggles over hope shape the present? Such future-oriented research can make important contributions, first, to a committed sociology that seeks to relate to contemporary public debates and to make possible and alternative futures heard. Second, the sociological interest in historical contingency and human agency does not only prepare the ground for future research (Schulz 2019). What is more, future research can contribute to sociological endeavors in understanding the diverse and intersecting inequalities inherent in knowledge production, in contentious and emancipatory politics, as well as in struggles over competing interpretations of the world.
Our contribution to these sociological debates will benefit from an interdisciplinary approach. Taking the negotiation of future imaginations and future-making practices as a conceptual, theoretical, and methodological point of departure, we will draw on debates in sociology as well as in social and cultural anthropology, literary studies, political science, and critical theory, which address a variety of topics and themes such as the conceptualisation of future orientations and temporalities (Bryant/Knight 2019), the future of capitalism (Bahng 2018; Beckert 2016; Boldizzoni 2020; Fishwick/Kiersey 2021; Milanović 2021), human and non-human survival within capitalist and climate crises (Haraway 2016; Sheller 2020; Tsing 2015), affective relations to the future and the unequal distribution of hope or aspiration (Appadurai 2013; Berlant 2011, Hage 2016, Kleist and Jansen 2016), Black futures and afrotopias (Kelly 2020; Sarr, Burk, and Jones-Boardman 2020), and the future of political contestations, social struggles, and solidarity movements (Castells 2015; Conway/Dufour/Masson 2021; Escobar 2020; Haiven/Khasnabish 2014; Juris 2008).

This Special Issue seeks to contribute to these discussions by departing from the hypothesis that whether and how people relate to the future in the here and now is a crucial lens to make sense of political practices, imaginations, and narratives as well as to understand who remains silent and excluded from future-making. Therefore, the Special Issue aims to explore the following questions:

- How do collective future imaginations emerge and develop at the crossroads of hopes and anxieties in times of global crises? What relationship therefore exists between utopian imaginations and dystopian constructions of the status quo? Exploring future-making as ongoing practices in the present, taking place in “the ruins of capitalism” (Tsing 2015), we ask what kind of future(s) within or beyond capitalism can be outlined (Milanović 2021; Fishwick/Kiersey 2021) without falling into the trap of “foretelling the end of capitalism” (Boldizzoni 2020).
- How can we make productive use of “utopia as method” (Levitas 2013) by exploring the relationship between social structures, imaginations of the future, and the agency of future-making? How do actors interpret their own agency and (in)ability to shape the near or long-term future? How do social and material conditions, such as capitalist models of development and modernity (Bennike/Rasmussen/Nielsen 2020; Berlant 2011; Hage 2009; Hage/Papadopoulos 2004), coloniality and postcolonial conditions (Young 2012; Quijano 2014; Lugones 2007), as well as gendered, racial and other forms of inequality and difference (Chen 2021), shape future imaginations and struggles over the future?

Departing from these questions, the Special Issue will bring together contributions which account for the empirical variety of future imaginations:

- First, the contributions will explore different settings and contexts of crisis, asking how collective future imaginations and future making practices are negotiated in social struggles over human-nature relations, climate crisis, capitalist extractivism, and rural change, over industrial and postcolonial futures, in contestations over the distribution of wealth, recognition, and border regimes, as well as in negotiations over conviviality and belonging.
- Second, the Special Issue asks for different scopes and horizons of future struggles which include: a) contestations over hope in everyday life as well as prefigurative politics and utopian thinking in social movements; b) a continuum of restorative, reformative, and transformative imaginations as well as future making practices that take the form of disruption, adaptation or apparent passivity; and c) analytical and affective engagements with future possibilities, or, as Ernst Bloch puts it, the cold and warm stream of imagination (Bloch 1959: 235-242).
- Thirdly, the contributions engage with the practices and perspectives of a broad variety of actors belonging to indigenous, feminist, migrant, queer or Black movements  as well as workers, peasant, or student organisations. In that way we also seek to explore how social differentiations and stratifications in the present ex/include certain actors from imagining or creating future(s). This implies asking, not only what the future(s) of these actors are, but also who counts as an agent of future-making practices. Finally, the growing debates on posthumanism and critiques of anthropocentrism urge us to scrutinise the interplay and agency of both human and non-human actors in future-making.

The compilation will bring together different disciplinary, methodological, and conceptual approaches to struggles for hope and negotiations over future(s) in times of global crises. The Special Issue seeks to make a contribution within a (re)emerging field of transdisciplinary future studies by a) exploring heterogeneous future-making practices at the intersection of anxiety and hope; b) taking imaginations of future(s), hopes, and utopian visions as a point of departure to understand present social configurations and struggles; and finally, c) by identifying common dimensions of future-making such as temporalities, territories, spaces, and agencies, which reveal commonalities as well as tensions and even contradictions.



We invite authors from any discipline to send an abstract (maximum 300 words) including title, author(s) and institutional affiliation to or by January 28th 2024. By late February 2024, we will invite authors to write their texts, and will inform all others about our decision. The deadline for the submission of full articles (40,000 characters, including spaces) is June 30th, 2024. After editorial assessment and double-blind review, corrections and proof-reading, the special issue will be published in print and online (green open access) in spring 2025.


Please submit abstracts and full papers in English. Communication with the editors may take place in English or German. Further information for potential authors is available here. For any questions regarding the procedures of publication, please contact For previous articles and issues of the journal, have a look at our archive.

Special Issue Editors


Sebastian Garbe holds a PhD in sociology and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Fulda Graduate Centre of Social Sciences and coordinator of the research group on Human Rights and Social Justice at the same institution. His areas of research are post- and decolonial theory, solidarity and development studies, (transnational) social movements with a regional interest in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently he is working on the future-making practices of the climate justice movement.


Corinna Land is a social scientist and is currently writing her dissertation at the Ruhr University Bochum. As a research associate at Fulda University of Applied Sciences, she coordinates the internationalisation of the Fulda Graduate Centre of Social Science. Her research fields include the sociology of development, migration studies, and the agrarian question. Looking at struggles over rural futures in Paraguay, her dissertation explores the negotiation of hope in everyday life and its ambiguous role in the (de)politicisation of development, in contestations over migration and belonging, and in conflicts over land and security.


Eva Gerharz is Professor of Sociology with a special focus on globalisation at the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences and the Director of the Fulda Graduate Centre of Social Sciences. She holds a PhD in sociology from Bielefeld University. Her areas of interest are development and social movements, migration and conflict, with a particular focus on indigenous activism in Bangladesh. She is engaged in a number of collaborative research encounters with partners from the Global South.




Andersson, Jenny/Kemp, Sandra (2021, eds.): Futures. First edition. Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.
Appadurai, Arjun (2013): The Future as Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition. London: Verso.
Bahng, Aimee (2018): Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times. Durham/London: Duke University Press.
Beckert, Jens (2016): Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Bennike, Rune Bolding/Rasmussen, Mattias Borg/Nielsen, Kenneth Bo (2020): Agrarian Crossroads: Rural Aspirations and Capitalist Transformation. In: Canadian Journal of Development Studies / Revue canadienne d'études du développement 41 (1), 40–56. DOI: 10.1080/02255189.2020.1710116
Berlant, Lauren Gail (2011): Cruel Optimism. Durham: Duke University Press.
Bloch, Ernst (1959): Das Prinzip Hoffnung: Kapitel 1-32. Ernst Bloch Gesamtausgabe Band 5. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Boldizzoni, Francesco (2020): Foretelling the End of Capitalism: Intellectual Misadventures since Karl Marx. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Brown, Nik/Rappert, Brian/Webster, Andrew (2000, eds.): Contested Futures: A Sociology of Prospective Techno-Science. Aldershot/Burlington: Ashgate.
Bryant, Rebecca/Knight, Daniel M. (2019): The Anthropology of the Future. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.
Castells, Manuel (2015): Networks of Outrage and Hope. Cambridge: Polity.
Chen, Yiyang (2021): Reconstructing Ruin as Future: Rethinking the Spatiotemporality of Race and Gender in Glissant and Spillers’ Middle Passage’. In: Inquiries Journal 13 (03).
Conway, Janet/Dufour, Pascal/Masson, Dominique (2021, eds.): Cross-Border Solidarities in Twenty-First Century Contexts: Feminist Perspectives and Activist Practices. Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield.
Escobar, Arturo (2020): Pluriversal Politics: The Real and the Possible. Latin America in Translation. Durham: Duke University Press.
Fischer, Michael M. J. (2009): Anthropological Futures. Experimental Futures: Technological Lives, Scientific Arts, Anthropological Voices. Durham: Duke University Press.
Fishwick, Adam/Kiersey, Nicholas J. (2021, eds.): Post-Capitalist Futures: Political Economy beyond Crisis and Hope. London: Pluto Press.
Hage, Ghassan (2016): Questions Concerning a Future-Politics. In: History and Anthropology 27 (4): 465–467. DOI: 10.1080/02757206.2016.1206896
Hage, Ghassan/Papadopoulos, Dimitris (2004): Migration, Hope, and the Making of Subjectivity in Transnational Capitalism: Ghassan Hage in Conversation with Dimitris Papadopoulos. In: International Journal for Critical Psychology (12), 107–121.
Hage, Ghassan (2009): Waiting Out the Crisis: On Stuckedness and Governmentality. In: Hage, Ghassan (Hg.): Waiting. Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Publishing, 97–106.
Haiven, Max/Khasnabish, Alex (2014): The Radical Imagination. London: Zed Books.
Haraway, Donna Jeanne (2016): Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Experimental Futures: Technological Lives, Scientific Arts, Anthropological Voices. Durham: Duke University Press.
Juris, Jeffrey (2008): Networking Futures: The Movements against Corporate Globalization. Durham: Duke University Press.
Kelly, Natasha A. (2020, ed.): The comet - Afrofuturism 2.0. Berlin: Orlanda.
Kleist, Nauja/Jansen, Stef (2016): Hope over Time: Crisis, Immobility and Future-Making. In: History and Anthropology 27 (4), 373–392. DOI: 10.1080/02757206.2016.1207636
Levitas, Ruth (2013): Utopia as Method: The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lugones, María (2007): Heterosexualism and the Colonial/Modern Gender System. In: Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 22 (1): 186–209.
Milanović, Branko (2021): Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World. Cambridge/London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Quijano, Aníbal (2014): Colonialidad Del Poder, Eurocentrismo y América Latina. In: Quijano, Aníbal/Climaco, Danilo Assis Climaco (Eds.): Cuestiones y Horizontes: De La Dependencia Histórico-Estructural a La Colonialidad/Descolonialidad Del Poder. Buenos Aires: CLACSO, 777–832.
Sarr, Felwine/Burk, Drew/Jones-Boardman, Sarah (2020): Afrotopia. A Univocal Book. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Schulz, Markus S. (2016): Debating Futures: Global Trends, Alternative Visions, and Public Discourse. In: International Sociology 31 (1): 3–20.
Schulz, Markus S. (2019): Introduction: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World. In: Schulz, Markus S. (ed.): Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World: Towards the futures we want. London/Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE, 1-16.
Seefried, Elke (2015): Zukünfte: Aufstieg und Krise der Zukunftsforschung 1945-1980. Quellen und Darstellungen zur Zeitgeschichte, Band 106. Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg.
Sheller, Mimi (2020): Island Futures: Caribbean Survival in the Anthropocene. Durham: Duke University Press.
Traverso, Enzo (2017): Left-Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History, and Memory. New York: Columbia University Press.
Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt (2015): The Mushroom at the End of the World - On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Young, Robert J.C. (2012): The Postcolonial Condition. In: Stone, Dan (ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Postwar European History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Schwerpunktredaktion: Antje Daniel, Marie Jasser, Lorena Olarte

Enacting the Future - Environmental activism worldwide


Environmental disasters and the effects of climate change are becoming ever more evident. They highlight insufficient global and nation-state climate and environmental policies, the exploitation of natural resources, the extent of climate disasters such as drought, floods, and the decline of biodiversity, and related and overlapping problems such as migration, poverty, conflict, and marginalisation. The youth environmental movement ‘Fridays for Future’, which arose in 2018, has been instrumental in raising media and political awareness of environmental and climate issues and highlighting their global dimension. While we recognise the relevance of this movement, we also want to highlight the long history of the defence of nature around the world, such as movements for land and indigenous territory, anti-extractivist struggles, and in general environmentalist activities of the poor.

Against the backdrop of environmental and climate activism mobilising for a liveable future around the world, we want to examine connections within and between those movements. The global dimension of such activism illustrates that environmental and climate crises do not stop at nation-state borders and therefore require global solutions. Activism has also become more transnationally interrelated, which points to increased transnational or global conflict resolutions through activism, as is evident in Fridays for Future.

While we are currently witnessing a very active debate on climate activism, it remains limited predominantly to Europe and the United States. Environmental and climate activism from the Global South(s) are underrepresented in anglophone and German-speaking literature, despite their multiplicity. A consideration of this activism is not only important against the background of the globality of the environmental and climate crisis, but also because in the Global South activism might differ, as the conditions of activism and resistance are different. For example, lethal state and para-state violence against environmental activists is more prevalent in South America than in Europe. Post-development approaches have also shown that the conceptions of the good life, and more generally of future imaginaries, in the Global South are diverse, and thus the objectives of activism are quite different, as are their self-organisation and strategies, which are also a result of their specific historical, cultural, social, and political contexts.

In this special issue, we aim to provide space for scholars and activists based in or from the Global South to reflect upon environmental and climate activism. A further goal of this call is to shed light on the entanglements and complex relations between environmental movements of different localities.

Therefore, we are interested in theoretical and conceptual contributions concerning environmental, climate, and other movements as well as in-depth empirical case studies depicting the different ways in which futures are imagined, negotiated, and aspired to. We also wish to bring together academic research on the Global North and the Global South – two strands of research which have, with few exceptions, been addressed in relative isolation from each other. We are particularly interested in contributions which address the following questions, but are open to other questions of relevance as well:

  • What kind of imaginary of the future do environmental and climate movements aspire to?
  • Which strategies do environmental and climate movements employ to promote their visions of how society should be imagined differently, and how do they ensure that this takes place in accordance with their ethical concerns?
  • What human-nature relations environmental and climate movements based on? How do they differ or in what ways are they similar to one another?
  • What understanding of nature do the movements have?
  • In which cultural, political, and historical context do movements operate?
  • Are the movements’ aspirations globally entangled?
  • To what extent and how are imagined futures practised in social movements?
  • Which differences and similarities shape activism in the Global North and South?
  • How do social movements in or in-between the Global South and North solidarise with one another?
  • What possibilities arise for critically reflecting upon or understanding social movements from a post- or decolonial perspective?




We invite authors from any discipline to send an abstract (maximum 300 words) including title, author(s) and institutional affiliation to;; by March 15th 2023. By mid-April 2023, we will invite authors to write their texts, and will inform all others about our decision. The deadline for the submission of full articles (40,000 characters, including spaces) is June 30th, 2023. After editorial assessment and double-blind review, corrections and proof-reading, the special issue will be published in print and online (green open access) in December 2023.



Please submit abstracts and full papers in English and German. In order to expand the outreach of this call, we will also accept abstracts and full papers in Spanish. Communication with the editors may take place in English or German. Further information for potential authors is available here. For any questions regarding the procedures of publication, please contact For previous articles and issues of the journal, have a look at our archive.

Special Issue Editors:

Dr. Antje Daniel is a social scientist in social movement studies, political sociology, gender and future/utopia at the Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna. She is also an associated researcher at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg and the Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg. In her recent researches she analyses environmental movements in Europe, South Africa as well as protests against urbanization, for education and democracy.

Marie Jasser is a DOC-team fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria and an associate researcher at the Universidad Nur in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. She is researching the role of social movements in land conflicts in the Plurinational State of Bolivia and coordinates the research group SolPan+ Bolivia, where she focuses on self-organisation during the pandemic and society-state relations.

Born near the city of Cholollan in today’s Mexico, Lorena Olarte is a politico-ecological analyst working in (social)interdisciplinary fields inspired by notions of evolutionary biology and philosophy of science. She is not afraid of rattlesnakes and regards oyamel trees (A. Religiosa) as her grandparents. She has 12 years international experience working for international organisations, government, and grassroots. For those who consider it relevant, she is completing her Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Vienna, studied at top-ranked Universities (e.g., UNAM, Sciences Po), and has been a Conacyt and Literar Mechana Fellow.


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