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Subjective Experiences of Interactive Nostalgia

Edited By Ryan Lizardi

From explorations of video game series to Netflix shows to Facebook timelines, Subjective Experiences of Interactive Nostalgia helps readers understand what it is actually like to be nostalgic in a world that increasingly asks us to interact with our past. Interdisciplinary authors tackle the subject from historical, philosophical, rhetorical, sociological, and economic perspectives, all the while asking big questions about what it means to be asked to be active participants in our own mediated histories. Scholars and pop culture enthusiasts alike will find something to love as this collection moves from a look at traditional interactive media, such as video games, to nostalgia within all things digital and ends with a rethinking of the potentials of nostalgia itself.

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5. An Anthem for Outcasts: The Nostalgia of Friendship in Stranger Things (Raymond Blanton)

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5. An Anthem for Outcasts: The Nostalgia of Friendship in Stranger Things

RAYMOND BLANTON

Strange Things Are Happening

Given the many varied experiences of nostalgic longing, from the socio-cultural consternation of Stephanie Coontz’s “nostalgic trap” (Coontz 2001) to the “hypochondria of the heart” (Boym 2001) in Svetlana Boym, our understanding of what it means to long for the past continues to be mercurial. As the call for nostalgic impulse is intensified by a seemingly unrelenting media mandate to make our past eternally relevant, our experiences and our approaches to understanding this phenomenon propel us as consumers and researchers to adequately account for the variations in our subjective experiences of longing for the past. Moreover, given this volume’s aims to interrogate the significance of nostalgia through an interdisciplinary understanding of its multifaceted forms and functions, this chapter offers a rhetorically conscious criticism of interactive nostalgia in the Netflix series Stranger Things. Broadly, my analysis will draw upon my auto-ethnographic experiences with and reflections on the series bounded by a cultural and critical analysis to determine how the meaning making practice of nostalgic longing functions rhetorically. Put differently, this chapter offers an auto-ethnographic assessment of nostalgic longing with a particular focus on the rhetorical significance of a specific kind of longing, friendship.

To this end, I explore various themes of nostalgic longing that relate to our specific subjective experiences with nostalgia—all drawn from various performative elements...

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