Affective scaffolds of nostalgia
Keywords:nostalgia, media, situated affectivity, affective scaffolding, mind invasion
In this paper I analyse nostalgia by reflecting on the theories coming from cultural studies, psychology, sociology and philosophy. Then I use theories of situated affectivity to achieve a better understanding of the role the environment plays in this affective phenomenon. I focus on the way nostalgia is “ordinarily” experienced today, that is to say in a society deeply influenced by technologies that constantly allow quick access to an infinite amount of nostalgically relevant material. To better achieve these goals, I mainly focus on childhood nostalgia, which is one of the, if not the, most widespread kinds of nostalgia. In the first part of this paper, after having introduced the meaning and history of the term nostalgia, I focus on Boym’s theories to verify if her classification can be applied to the everyday experience of nostalgia, especially childhood nostalgia. In the second part, I show how at its core nostalgia consists in a selection and renarration of memories that deeply shape and reveal one’s personal identity. In the third section I offer an introduction to the concept of affective scaffolding. In the fourth section I show how the media we consume through material culture constitutes a synchronic scaffold for the alleviation of the sense of nostalgic longing. In the fifth section I show how the processes of selection and renarration can also be scaffolded, and I discuss whether these processes can be externally influenced in a way that resembles what Slaby calls mind invasion.
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