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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
January 2024
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:
Creative Commons:
Creative Common License - CC Creative Common License - BY Creative Common License - NC Creative Common License - ND
This content is Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Book description

Although it feels like we live in a time of seeming hopelessness, this pioneering book illustrates what language can teach us about the practice, logic, and feasibility of hope in the twenty-first century. Silva and Lee highlight how people living in Brazilian urban peripheries, who have grown accustomed to unrelenting prejudice and violence on an everyday basis, use language to survive and imagine futures that are worth aspiring to. In so doing, this book foregrounds how language becomes a matter of survival for these communities. It provides a thorough theorization of how language can produce conditions of hope, moving away from the idea of language merely as a tool of communication and toward something that can meaningfully impact social realities. Innovative and engaging, it is essential reading for researchers and students in applied linguistics, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. This title is also available as open access on Cambridge Core.


‘Consider the variety of language-games we play: forming and testing hypotheses; making up stories; offending; humiliating … hoping. This volume argues compellingly for the centrality of language in the study of hope. By focusing on those who dare to hope amidst all forms of contemporary violence, it will certainly provide deep sources of inspiration to imagine new paths forward.'

Branca Falabella Fabrício - Associate Professor, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

‘With rare theoretical and ethnographic finesse, Silva and Lee show that hope isn't merely expressed through language. Language is itself a reason for hope – a form of practical reasoning with which speakers regenerate shattered worlds. Hope, thus, must be a prime focus of sociolinguists' attention if we want to understand how lives are lived against the vicious forces of capital and neoliberalism. This book enlivens sociolinguistics and makes one feel hopeful about its future.'

Rodrigo Borba - Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

‘Language as Hope creatively fuses new literatures in sociolinguistics with insights forged by ‘citizen sociolinguistics' in Brazilian favelas. Its careful argumentation and bold confrontation of the politics of oppression and despair challenge scholars to join their interlocutors in creating more just, hopeful worlds.'

Charles L. Briggs - author of Unlearning: Rethinking Poetics, Pandemics, and the Politics of Knowledge

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Full book PDF
  • Language as Hope
    pp i-ii
  • Language as Hope - Title page
    pp iii-iii
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Dedication
    pp v-vi
  • Contents
    pp vii-viii
  • Figures
    pp ix-ix
  • Excerpts
    pp x-x
  • Acknowledgments
    pp xi-xiii
  • Notes on the Text
    pp xiv-xiv
  • I - Introduction
    pp 1-20
  • 1 - Language as Hope
    pp 21-47
  • 2 - “País do Futuro” and Present-Day Communities of Hope
    pp 48-78
  • 3 - Hope in the Present
    pp 79-101
  • 4 - The Enregisterment of Hope
    pp 102-122
  • 5 - Scaling Hope
    pp 123-152
  • 6 - Conclusion
    pp 153-161
  • Doing Hope, Researching Hope
  • Postscript
    pp 162-164
  • References
    pp 165-182
  • Index
    pp 183-186


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