UR 1498

Communicative Forms and Practices of Nostalgia : Conceptual, Critical and Historical Perspectives

IMNN - International Conference

Jeudi 8 novembre 2018 - 09:00 au Vendredi 9 novembre 2018 - 18:00

Lieu : 
Södertörn University
Alfred Nobels allé 9
141 52 Huddinge
Organisé par : Emmanuelle Fantin, Ekaterina Kalinina, Manuel Menke et Katharina Niemeyer

The start of the 21st century is marked by a persistence of nostalgic feelings, there is a lasting tendency in politics, culture, and the entertainment industry to use nostalgia as a tool to engage people in voting, buying, consuming, and “productively” participating in societies, in both Western countries and across the world. Yet thinking of nostalgia only as a top-down phenomenon does not encompass either the dynamics of its circulation or its significance in contemporary mediatized societies. Nostalgia has also become deeply anchored in people´s everyday lives. Not only are contemporary media users the targets of nostalgia-evoking communication by societal actors, institutions, and organizations, they increasingly contribute to a bottom-up communication of nostalgia through various creative media-related practices. How and where these different modes and forms of nostalgia relate to, oppose, or reinforce each other are questions that traditional conceptualizations and explanations of nostalgia no longer seem to satisfy.

The first IMNN conference aims to critically investigate the contemporary epistemology and ontology of nostalgia by providing new perspectives, theories, and research methods. The ambition is to inform our understanding of the numerous contexts that have been, currently are, and might become relevant for understanding nostalgia, while at the same time discussing the significance of media and communication in these changing contexts on a local, transnational, and global scale.

In the last few years, scholars have observed an increasing interest in nostalgia. This not only seems to indicate a fascination with nostalgia itself, but also an awareness that nostalgia might be highly relevant for media scholars’ attempts to explain our relationship with the past, present, and future. However, despite a half century long tradition of nostalgia research, the abundance of literature on the topic, and evident advancements, the field still lacks a thorough integration of the conditions that shape and change the ways in which nostalgia is salient today. This may be due to the use of methods which fail to acknowledge the dialectical relationship between nostalgia and media, or the ease with which existing definitions of nostalgia have been accepted without interrogation. It may also be due to the sliding significance of the term “nostalgia” itself, and our subsequent failure to recognize the myriad phenomena that fall under its umbrella.

We invite scholars and professionals to examine nostalgia critically, in order to reveal aspects that might have been disregarded, misunderstood, forgotten, or ignored in the past. The conference also encourages historical perspectives shining light on shifting features of nostalgia over time, to start a conversation that will take us beyond what have become our unchallenged and unquestioned premises. Together, we want to move past the oversimplifications of nostalgia that have proven inadequate for the questions we are facing in mediatized societies.