Nostalgia has become a core sentiment in contemporary society and an unpredictable political force.
Author: Antto Vihma
Finnish original: Nostalgia. Teoria ja käytäntö
Publisher: Teos, 2021
Number of pages: 240 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, English synopsis
Hundreds of millions of people in Western countries believe life was better fifty years ago, and national politics increasingly look to a recent or distant past that never existed. Researchers are going so far as to talk about a “global nostalgia epidemic,” which calls us to resist liberal decay and commercialization of culture and to return to a past way of life – one that involved, among other things, a closer relationship to nature.
Nostalgia provides a mechanism for survival in a world dominated by uncertainty and a sense of disconnection. Those who experience nostalgia want to revisit a past era as if it were a place one could still travel to.
Nostalgia can also be self-aware. For the contemporary human, confronting personal longing is a force that can move life forward, helping us realize that which is worth nurturing in the present as well as the future.
Antto Vihma’s new book discusses nostalgia as a societal and cultural force. In order to understand the significance of nostalgia, one must understand what exactly contemporary nostalgia is. It won the State Award for Public Information in 2022.
“Nostalgia: Theory and Practice is one of numerous works in recent years to touch on populism. As such, it is head and shoulders above many others. It addresses its topic succinctly yet illustratively and without underestimating the reader, instead prompting one to consider further investigation, a major feat for a work of nonfiction.”
– Kulttuuritoimitus literary magazine
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