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HOWES, Graham. Sacred and secular sources of hope for a post-modern society. Estud. av. [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.75, pp.237-248. ISSN 0103-4014.

This paper will attempt to evaluate -critically - some of the sacred and secular expressions of hope currently identifiable within many contemporary, "post-modern", societies, where, as one philosopher of religion has recently described it, "all frameworks of narrative description embodied in their history and interpretation are currently dissolved in the acids of modernity". Particular attention will be paid to four distinctive yet interconnected contexts" where specific "strategies for hope" - in both theory and praxis can be identified and evaluated These are: 1) Urban regeneration and community development - symbolising and securing hope for a viable urban future; 2) The Ecological Imperative - optimizing hope for the perpetuation of "Planet Earth"; 3) Re-Sacralizing the Secular - re-investing "post-religious" secular social theory with overtly religious norms and values; 4) The Aesthetic Imperative -utilizing the visual Arts- both elite and popular- as a mechanism for social and personal transformation. All four case studies embody explicit sources of "hope" for 21st century individuals, communities and societies. Yet all four also demonstate how the "cognitive distance" between "is" and "ought", between "rhetoric" and "reality" remains as visible, intractable and seemingly permanent as ever .Hence the re-constitution of "hope" at the normative epicentre of post-modern thought and action, although a theoretical possibility, may prove, in practice, little more than "Hoping against Hope".

Keywords : Religion; Society; Hope; Urban; Community.

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