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The Colonial Politics of Hope Critical Junctures of Indigenous-State Relations

    148 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Through analyses of cases in Australia, Finland, Greenland and elsewhere, the book illuminates how states appropriate hope as a means to stall and circumscribe political processes of recognising the rights of indigenous peoples.

    The book examines hope in indigenous–state relations today. Engaging with hope both empirically and conceptually, the work analyses the dynamic between hope, politics and processes of rights and recognition. In particular, the book introduces the notion of the politics of hope and how it plays out in three salient cases: planned constitutional changes that would finally recognise the indigenous peoples of Australia, the lengthy debate on the ratification of ILO Convention 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries in Finland and the prospect of Greenland’s independence after its gaining self-government in 2009. Juxtaposing these contexts, the book illustrates the ways in which hope has become a useful political tool in enabling states to sidestep the peoples’ claims for justice and redress. The book puts forward insights on the power of hope – by definition future oriented – in diminishing the urgency of present concerns. This is hope’s most potent colonial force.

    This book brings together studies on indigenous–state relations, social scientific discussions on hope, and critical postcolonial, feminist and governmentality analyses.

    1 Hope on the horizon

    2 Equivocal hope

    3 Battlefields of recognition

    4 Fickle contractuality

    5 Colonialism in the grammar of hope

    6 Conclusion


    Marjo Lindroth is a university researcher in the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland, Finland.  

    Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen is a university lecturer and feminist scholar at the University of Lapland, Finland.

    Lindroth’s and Sinevaara-Niskanen’s previous joint work includes the book Global Politics and its Violent Care for Indigeneity: Sequels to Colonialism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), which illustrates how the inclusion and recognition of indigeneity in global politics constitute a continuation of colonial practices. Their work has been published in journals such as International Political Sociology, Global Society, and Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourse.

    “This book establishes ‘the politics of hope’ as a key concern both for scholars and activists. In setting out, for the first time, the global logic of governing through hope, the links to colonial and postcolonial hierarchies of power and dependency are made clear. Hope is about reproducing the present rather than transforming the future.”

    - David Chandler, University of Westminster, UK