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Lost in Transition

Lost in Transition Why is there nostalgia for real socialism? Is it but a logical response to sudden, dramatic transformation? Don’t people remember those days anymore—or do they remember them all too well? In popular opinion, nostalgia for socialism is something fabricated, invented, and then imposed by different groups of people to achieve some goals: to open a new commercial niche, to attain political credit, to win popular support, to get artistic inspiration, and so on. Thus, many academic studies have examined only this instrumental side of the phenomenon, limiting it to the “industry of nostalgia” only. But research shows that nostalgia is in fact a retrospective utopia, a wish and a hope for a safe world, a fair society, true friendships, mutual solidarity, and well-being in general, in short, for a perfect world. As such, it is less a subjective, arbitrary, ideological effort to recall the past as it is, an undetermined, undefined, amorphous wish to transcend the present. So nostalgia for socialism in fact does not relate exclusively and precisely to past times, regimes, values, relations, and so on as such, but it embodies a utopian hope that there must be a society that is better than the current one. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png East European Politics and Societies SAGE

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 2009 SAGE Publications
ISSN
0888-3254
eISSN
1533-8371
DOI
10.1177/0888325409345140
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Why is there nostalgia for real socialism? Is it but a logical response to sudden, dramatic transformation? Don’t people remember those days anymore—or do they remember them all too well? In popular opinion, nostalgia for socialism is something fabricated, invented, and then imposed by different groups of people to achieve some goals: to open a new commercial niche, to attain political credit, to win popular support, to get artistic inspiration, and so on. Thus, many academic studies have examined only this instrumental side of the phenomenon, limiting it to the “industry of nostalgia” only. But research shows that nostalgia is in fact a retrospective utopia, a wish and a hope for a safe world, a fair society, true friendships, mutual solidarity, and well-being in general, in short, for a perfect world. As such, it is less a subjective, arbitrary, ideological effort to recall the past as it is, an undetermined, undefined, amorphous wish to transcend the present. So nostalgia for socialism in fact does not relate exclusively and precisely to past times, regimes, values, relations, and so on as such, but it embodies a utopian hope that there must be a society that is better than the current one.

Journal

East European Politics and SocietiesSAGE

Published: Nov 1, 2009

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