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Anthropology and Nostalgia

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Anthropology and Nostalgia

Edited by Olivia Angé and David Berliner

244 pages, 12 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-453-3 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2014)

ISBN  978-1-78533-338-5 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (September 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78238-454-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“…this edited volume remains an important contribution to the increasing number of anthropologists who encounter affective remembrances of distant pasts. Particularly valuable are its methodological focus on the concrete discourses, materialities, social interactions, texts, and technologies through which nostalgia manifests. Scholars who work on memory, politics, affect, identity, and material culture will all find many valuable and challenging insights throughout the book.” · Anthropos

“[This volume] illustrates that nostalgia is an undeniable part of modern (if not general human) experience and that anthropology has a great deal to offer in understanding and critiquing its diverse forms, practices, and social and political implications.” · Anthropology Review Database

“Nostalgia is a central characteristic of our age. Gathering together ethnographic cases from around the world, this timely and innovative volume investigates the diversity of nostalgic forms today, as well as the historic role nostalgia plays in the development of anthropology. A must read for all scholars interested in the contemporary politics of memory and heritage.” · Lynn Meskell, Stanford University

“A brilliant foray into the field of nostalgia studies, which pluralizes and de-familiarizes the term’s standard meaning. Nostalgia emerges from these essays not just as a backward glance but also as a future-oriented, contemporary critique, strategic, materialist, performative – and as a defining feature not only of modernity but also of anthropology and social theory more broadly. Sémart theorizing rooted in deep ethnography makes this a masterful contribution.” · Charles Piot, Duke University

“Nostalgia permeates the anthropological profession, both as the often evanescent object of its investigation of pasts recalled and recalibrated, and as a characteristic of anthropologists’ sometimes rueful musings about their own work. Ranging across a variety of ethnographic settings, these well-crafted and mutually illuminating essays illustrate both the ambiguity and the utility of what has become an important concept for linking the recurrent preoccupations of anthropological research with the concerns of several other disciplines.” · Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University

“This volume… risks being a future trend-setter in the anthropological study of memory and temporality, as it captures a historical moment of growing interest (in and outside the academy) regarding nostalgia as a social and political phenomenon, while simultaneously disentangling the multiple understandings and instrumentalisations that the concept entails…” · Ruy Llera Blanes, University of Bergen

“The ideas are original, noteworthy, and of value not just to anthropologists, but also psychologists, sociologists and others who are concerned with memory and the social world. Drawing on the experiences of people in a number of countries inevitably provides a breadth of outlooks, and this is to be applauded.” · Nigel Hunt, University of Nottingham


Nostalgia is intimately connected to the history of the social sciences in general and anthropology in particular, though finely grained ethnographies of nostalgia and loss are still scarce. Today, anthropologists have realized that nostalgia constitutes a fascinating object of study for exploring contemporary issues of the formation of identity in politics and history. Contributors to this volume consider the fabric of nostalgia in the fields of heritage and tourism, exile and diasporas, postcolonialism and postsocialism, business and economic exchange, social, ecological and religious movements, and nation building. They contribute to a better understanding of how individuals and groups commemorate their pasts, and how nostalgia plays a role in the process of remembering.

After being a researcher at the University of Oxford and at Musée du Quai Branly, Olivia Angé is now a Marie Curie European Fellow at the Sociology of Development and Change Group at Wageningen University. Her fieldwork in the Andes mainly focuses on barter, ritual and cultural transmission.

David Berliner is a Professor of Anthropology at Université Libre de Bruxelles. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Guinea-Conakry and Laos. His topics of research are social memory, cultural transmission and the politics of heritage.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Heritage StudiesTheory and Methodology


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