Ideological hope

Stahl, Titus
Journal article
in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 2024



The hope for a better future can, and frequently does, motivate political action. Political hope is therefore often considered a positive force. However, not all forms of political hope are beneficial. Some scholars and activists claim that some kinds of hope also function as an ideology. I argue that we can give a precise meaning to the notion of ‘ideological hope,’ and I argue that to say of a given instance of hope that it is ‘ideological’ means more than that it is irrational or immoral. I distinguish two forms of ideological hope: forms where the ideological nature of hope derives from underlying ideological beliefs and judgments, and structural forms. The case of structurally ideological hope shows that even the rational hopes of political agents can undermine their purposes by binding them to distorted political self-understandings.


Date of Publication