Editorial 4/2016 Manuel Menke & Christian Schwarzenegger

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
Tom Waits

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