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Nostalgia in the 21st Century

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Nostalgia is a shaping cultural force in the new millennium, and is impacting on a wide range of consumer behaviours and cultural productions.

The study of nostalgia is especially timely because technological advancements and the digital media environment are producing new dynamics between past and present, and determining relationships between individuals and communities. New technology presents a paradox: on the one hand, it has the capacity to stimulate nostalgia by bringing large numbers of globally diverse people together, but technologies can also create fragmentation and alienation from the present; our increasingly mediated relationship to the material world has led to perceptions of social and moral decline and loss of traditional values.

The study of nostalgia is important because it influences the behaviour of consumers, marketers, writers and other cultural producers, and because it underpins or connects with a range of trends in contemporary culture.

The ‘Nostalgia in the 21st Century’ project consisted of six one-day seminars hosted by staff in Marketing and Humanities at the University of Strathclyde during 2010 and 2011, together with associated events and publications.  For the ESRC Festival of Social Science in 2010, we organised a writing competition, Glasgow Remembered: Food and Nostalgia, while for the 2011 Festival, in the first week of November, we held an exhibition and workshop for families, Glasgow School Days Remembered at Scotland Street School Museum.

We are also currently editing a special issue of CMC: Consumption, Markets and Culture, and maintaining an ongoing research network on the subject of nostalgia.

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