ECREA-panel-CFP: Online Communities of Nostalgia

ECREA – 6th European Communication Conference (ECC) to be held in Prague 9 – 12 November 2016.

Deadline for paper proposals within this panel: January 31st, 2016

Please send your proposal (500 words, short bibliography and short bio) to Emilie Keightley (E.Keightley@lboro.ac.uk) AND to Katharina Niemeyer (Katharina.Niemeyer@u-paris2.fr).

The relation between memory, nostalgia and media has been explored by various recent studies (Keightley and Pickering 2015, Niemeyer 2014, Holdsworth 2011). This work has identified the potential of media content and media devices to trigger nostalgia, their tendency to encode nostalgia in their representational content and by providing opportunities for nostalgic modes of engaging with the past through their use. At the same time this body of literature has increasingly moved away from a straightforward notion of either media or their users ‘being nostalgic’ to sense of how media and their users are intertwined in a performative process of ‘nostalgizing’. Despite this move towards an examination of the processual dimensions of nostalgia, the identification and exploration of ‘online communities of nostalgia’ as their hybrid relations to home and identity making, for example, has not yet been undertaken. More specifically we do not yet have an adequate explanation for why people engage in nostalgic remembering of shared and controversial pasts online. It is not clear whether nostalgia is common framework or mode of engagement which leads to the creation of online groups and communities, nor whether members of these communities, although geographically separated, negotiate the meaning of their various pasts using nostalgia as a common, shared mode of connecting the past to the present, in the sense of a universal feeling and practice (Bonnet, 2016)? This kind of remembering practice at once seems to involve the pleasurable processes of consumption associated with mediated nostalgia (very often the content of these ‘nostalgias’ is related to the memory of media devices and their contents) alongside a more profound search for identity and ‘home’, intermingling the playfulness of pastiche and the fulfilment of consumerist desires with a search for temporal moorings, mnemonic connections and narrative identities. To what extent does performing these negotiations online offer opportunities for and impose limitations on these processes? This panel aims to tackle these questions critically and wishes to deliver a better understanding of the online uses of nostalgia and their relationship to offline ‘nostalgic’ activities.

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