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Nostalgie / Nostalgia

Imaginierte Zeit-Räume in globalen Medienkulturen / Imagined Time-Spaces in Global Media Cultures


Edited By Sabine Sielke

Nostalgie boomt – als kulturelles Phänomen wie als Forschungsgegenstand. Was aber ist und wie wirkt Nostalgie? Dieses Buch zeigt auf, wie Nostalgie die Zeit anzuhalten sucht und unsere Wahrnehmung steuert. Eng verknüpft mit dem Aufkommen neuer Medientechnologien und Prozessen des Konsums schaffen Nostalgie und Retro imaginierte Zeit-Räume, die Vergangenes neu erfinden und sich Zukünftigem öffnen.

Nostalgia booms – both as cultural phenomenon and as research object. Yet what is nostalgia, and how does it work? This book shows how nostalgia aims at arresting time and channels our perception. Inextricably entwined with the rise of new media technologies and processes of consumption, nostalgia and retro create imagined time-spaces which reinvent the past and face the future.

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White Middle-Class Homelessness: Nostalgia from Babbitt to Mad Men (Simone Knewitz)


Simone Knewitz

White Middle-Class Homelessness: Nostalgia from Babbitt to Mad Men

Abstract: Relating the TV series Mad Men (2007–2015) to two literary representations of the white American middle class – Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt (1922) and Sloan Wilson’s The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1955) –, this essay shows how in all three works nostalgia emerges as a productive force that stabilizes and perpetuates imaginary constructions of middle-class identity and hegemony.

In “The Wheel,” the first season finale of the AMC television series Mad Men (2007–2015), Donald Draper, creative director at the fictional 1960s advertising agency Sterling Cooper, evokes the concept of nostalgia during a pitch for a Kodak slide projector. The Kodak executives had asked for a campaign which foregrounds the technological innovations of the object. Don suggests to take a different route: to create “a sentimental bond with the product,” to engage customers “on a level beyond flash.” “Nostalgia,” Don claims (not quite accurately), originally refers to “the pain from an old wound […] far more powerful than memory alone.” In his presentation, Don projects scenes from his own family life: snapshots of himself with his wife Betty and their two kids, Sally and Bobby. We see Betty and Don on a date sharing a hotdog, pregnant Betty with Don’s head resting on her stomach, and a family scene of Don and the kids on the couch, as Don explains: “This device isn’t a spaceship; it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards....

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