Ausgabe 4/2016 „Media, Communication and Nostalgia“
herausgegeben von Manuel Menke & Christian Schwarzenegger
Die Ausgabe steht als Download zur Verfügung:
medien & zeit 4/2016.pdf
Media, Communication and Nostalgia
Finding a better tomorrow in the yesterday?
Today is grey skies, tomorrow is tears
you’ll have to wait till yesterday is here
In 2016, it appears, the promise of a good future was increasingly sought for in the past and by invoking the spirit of a faded prior exceptionality. In the Brexit campaign or the US elections, to name but a few of the most prominent examples for similar developments around the globe, nostalgia fuelled populism and nationalist identity politics. “Take back control” and “Make America great again” were as much the essence of a nostalgic narrative of a better past as they were a false promise for a better future. The glorious times such politics refer to in their campaigns are hard to trace and likely never existed in the imagined form. But they are offered as a projection surface for people´s hopes, dreams, and fears, harvesting the sentiments and affections of disgruntled parts of the population to capitalise them for political success. In the now so anxiously termed “post-truth” era – in itself a reference to a favourable yet allegedly bygone version of reality – nostalgia is used for orchestrating affects at the cost of facts and rational discourse. The success of such political strategies in Western democracies stunned liberals across the globe and the debate about its appeal will have to continue due to the persistent distrust in democracy, media, and politics we are contemporarily witnessing in Europe and elsewhere. Weiterlesen
Nostalgia is often understood as a syndrome and a therapeutic mechanism for healing traumatic past experiences, a retrospective utopia of safety and stability, or a revisionist project of rewriting history in a more user-friendly and appealing way. The literature also highlights different uses of nostalgic sentiments, such as their commercial and aesthetic applications, affective nature, material dimensions, and political relevance, among many others. Previous research has shown that media, popular culture and creative industries are the central platforms for nostalgic productions, which not only allow for creativity but also manipulate users’ attitudes towards the past and induce nostalgia in audiences. Such an abundance of perspectives and theories on nostalgia creates conceptual confusion. With this in mind, this essay aims at more clearly elucidating theories on nostalgia. As engagement with broader debates on the role of the media in nostalgic experiences has also been limited, this essay will provide some remarks on the relations between media and nostalgia.
Approaching current vinyl enthusiasm in late modernity, we postulate four mechanisms as possible explanations and test them by conducting a social experiment with 31 music listeners. Half of them were to play the vinyl version of a current music album; the rest were given the CD. Without participants’ knowledge, the headphone sound was manipulated, effectively resulting in a between-subjects design with ‘sound’ and ‘sensory appeal’ as independent variables and ‘emotional arousal’ and ‘nostalgia’ as dependents. Additionally, participants’ birth year was implemented as a covariate. Obtained results confirm the distinctive sound of the Vinyl as well as its sensory appeal to be both aesthetically more exciting for nowadays’ listeners compared to a CD. Furthermore, we demonstrate feelings of technostalgia to be ‘embodied’ since they only appear with ‘valid’ material media of one’s own past. In contrast, generational aura attributions emerge when handling ‘obsolete’ audio media one has not been socialized with.
Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, UK is globally renowned as the setting for the world’s longest running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine (UK, BBC, 1973-2010). This article explores how the TV series has become embedded in the practical existence of the town and draws on empirical research with residents of Holmfirth which shows how people situate themselves in relation to their factual and fictionalized cultural heritage. In this paper we consider the interrelationship between media and memories and the role that nostalgia plays for the production, commodification, distribution and exchange of narratives.
This paper explores the preservation of the social architecture as a constitutive element of the retrogaming-community Project 1999, a group of players who are enthusiastic about a specific classic phase of the old MMORPG Everquest. In an attempt to recreate an authentic gaming experience, certain technical and cultural characteristics of this era are invoked as a symbolic resource in a retrospective discourse. The players negotiate nostalgic sentiments in the contradictory conditions of the contemporary converging media environment to recreate what they consider the “essence” of Everquest. The paper follows this issue by investigating the ways in which knowledge is collected and applied. Using a dedicated wiki, information about the original game is collected and made visible within the community in a collaborative effort. This provides opportunities to reflect and discuss shared memories and recreate authenticity not only on the technical, but also on the cultural level. The stated ideal, although impossible to achieve, serves as an important point of reference in ongoing negotiations on the condition of the game. A collective memory grounded in nostalgic longing directed at the past thus becomes a source for shared identity and communitization in the present.
This article discusses the emergence and prevalence of a prospective nostalgic narrative of present events articulated through the practices of selfies and GoPro-ing as instances of anticipatory future yearning, colloquially identified as nowstalgia. The compound term collapses past, present, and future into a deeply complex temporal construct, as the object of such a yearning is but a possibility that is waiting to happen or, at best, one that is taking place in the present.
Using a critical cultural approach, the article proposes nowstalgia as an analytical tool for the exploration of selfies and GoPro-ing as moments of active construction of a presumably valorized past-in-the-making. The conditions of production of nowstalgic narratives hinge, the author argues, on the abstraction or removal of the subject from the present actions and situations in which they are immersed, in favor of documenting them, which becomes justified by their possible yearning in the future.
The article raises the question how nostalgia is utilized as an advertising strategy in the television commercials of the Austrian sweets producer Manner. The first section of the paper elaborates how different variations of this emotion developed and how the meaning of it changed throughout history. Among others nostalgia became an important aspect of consumer culture and was therefore increasingly popular as a tool for advertising and marketing. In the second part of the paper, by analysing and comparing a Manner commercial from 1998 to two from 2015, it is shown in what different ways nostalgia can be visualized and communicated in television advertising. Whereas the 1998 campaign tried to evoke a “real” nostalgic mood in viewers by referring to national collective as well as to individual consumers’ nostalgia, the 2015 commercials playfully engaged with various superficial nostalgic references and omitted negative facets of nostalgia.
Based on two recent Brazilian efforts to protect historical street-level cinemas in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, I aim to analyse the role of audience’s activism in promoting engagements for the reopening and maintenance of picture houses, taking into account the handling of cinema-going memories by certain practices, actions, and discourses that I denominate as “activated nostalgia”. I discuss the campaign against the closure of the Grupo Estação cinema circuit, located in Rio de Janeiro, and the recovering process of the Cine Belas Artes, an art and essay cinema situated in São Paulo. These movements operate their network across online social media and public events, hence accomplishing significant gains in terms of the maintenance of the places. I investigate the limits and intersections between enthusiastic collective performances and the uses of the cinema-goers’ nostalgia expressions by institutional actors and managers involved in the final steps of the restoration projects. I suggest that the activation of nostalgia through cinema-goers mobilizations becomes a crucial axis for the formation of belonging and identity ties among cinephiles. Adding to that, it functions as a component of the uses of memory regarding street-level cinemas and its criteria for preservation, reopening or patrimonialization, often meeting the interests of forces of power engendered within governmental and private spheres.