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Nostalgia is not what it used to be: heritage films, nostalgia websites and contemporary consumers

Nostalgia is not what it used to be: heritage films, nostalgia websites and contemporary consumers Nostalgia is not a singular phenomenon; it is multi-layered, diversely experienced and variously exploited, as I demonstrate by briefly outlining the history of nostalgia, especially the recent shift from modern to post-modern versions of the experience. The modern, temporal version of nostalgia is founded on the unattainable distance between the past and the present; the post-modern, atemporal version erases this sense of distance. Central to the modern concept of nostalgia is the experience of wistfulness, a hopeless longing for something lost and irrecoverable. But for post-modern nostalgics, the irrecoverable is now attainable, the difference between past and present flattened out. This is partly because post-modern nostalgia re-cycles images, objects and styles associated with the relatively recent past, a prime site of such re-cycling being the Internet. I therefore look at a range of websites that use nostalgia as a central concept in their marketing and which demonstrate some of these recent shifts in the experience of nostalgia. In the final part of this article, I explore these concerns in relation to the reception of four films about the English, past released in the 2000s: Ladies in Lavender (2004), Becoming Jane (2007), Brideshead Revisited (2008) and An Education (2009). How are films mobilised for nostalgic purposes at the levels of production, marketing and consumption? How is an experience of the past built into these films? Are some of the resulting images, sounds and pasts more resistant to nostalgic uses than others? Are these films discussed by audiences in terms of nostalgia? If so, is this is a positive or negative experience? Ranging in this way across a variety of material, my article is an attempt to bring together cultural history, conceptual, formal analysis and the analysis of reception or consumption. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Consumption Markets and Culture Taylor & Francis

Nostalgia is not what it used to be: heritage films, nostalgia websites and contemporary consumers

Consumption Markets and Culture , Volume 17 (2): 23 – Mar 4, 2014
23 pages

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References (43)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2013 Taylor & Francis
ISSN
1477-223X
eISSN
1025-3866
DOI
10.1080/10253866.2013.776305
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Nostalgia is not a singular phenomenon; it is multi-layered, diversely experienced and variously exploited, as I demonstrate by briefly outlining the history of nostalgia, especially the recent shift from modern to post-modern versions of the experience. The modern, temporal version of nostalgia is founded on the unattainable distance between the past and the present; the post-modern, atemporal version erases this sense of distance. Central to the modern concept of nostalgia is the experience of wistfulness, a hopeless longing for something lost and irrecoverable. But for post-modern nostalgics, the irrecoverable is now attainable, the difference between past and present flattened out. This is partly because post-modern nostalgia re-cycles images, objects and styles associated with the relatively recent past, a prime site of such re-cycling being the Internet. I therefore look at a range of websites that use nostalgia as a central concept in their marketing and which demonstrate some of these recent shifts in the experience of nostalgia. In the final part of this article, I explore these concerns in relation to the reception of four films about the English, past released in the 2000s: Ladies in Lavender (2004), Becoming Jane (2007), Brideshead Revisited (2008) and An Education (2009). How are films mobilised for nostalgic purposes at the levels of production, marketing and consumption? How is an experience of the past built into these films? Are some of the resulting images, sounds and pasts more resistant to nostalgic uses than others? Are these films discussed by audiences in terms of nostalgia? If so, is this is a positive or negative experience? Ranging in this way across a variety of material, my article is an attempt to bring together cultural history, conceptual, formal analysis and the analysis of reception or consumption.

Journal

Consumption Markets and CultureTaylor & Francis

Published: Mar 4, 2014

Keywords: nostalgia; film; heritage; post-modern; retro; Englishness

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