Call for papers Nostalgias

Call for papers Nostalgias
A special issue of Volume! The French Journal of Popular Music Studies
The french version is here
A special issue of Volume! The French Journal of Popular Music Studies
Edited by Hugh Dauncey (Newcastle University) & Christopher Tinker (Heriot-Watt University)
Volume!, the French peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of popular music – seeks contributions for a special issue on nostalgia and popular music in a variety of national, international and transnational contexts.
contact :Call for papers Nostalgias

This issue will explore the ways in which popular-music-related nostalgia is
produced, represented, mediatised and consumed. Morris B. Holbrook and Robert
M. Schindler define nostalgia as „A preference (general liking, positive
attitude or favourable effect) towards experiences associated with objects
(people, places or things) that were more common (popular, fashionable or
widely circulated) when one was younger (in early adulthood, in adolescence,
in childhood or even before birth)“ (2006: 108).

Nostalgia is a perennial feature of the popular-music field, and has assumed
during recent years an increasing prominence within many national contexts.
This issue represents an opportunity to contribute towards defining the field
of popular-music-related nostalgia, engage with and build on existing studies
in disciplines as diverse as popular music studies, cultural studies,
psychological studies and consumer/marketing research, and situate nostalgia
in relation to other associated phenomena such as memory, commemoration and

A key aim of this issue is to explore how nostalgia contributes to the
development and status of particular popular music forms and genres. Barbara
Lebrun’s study of French chanson néo-réaliste, which rose to prominence during
the 1990s (e.g. Pigalle, Les Négresses Vertes, and Les Têtes Raides), indeed
highlights the ‘incohérences’ and ‘contradictions’ of the genre, which is
‘réactionnaire et rebelle, vieux-jeu et moderne, élitiste et
collectif’ (‘reactionary and rebellious, old-school and modern, elitist and
collective’) and combines nostalgia, conservatism, protest and distinction/
cultural exclusivity (2009: 59-60).

The role of popular music nostalgia in identity formation is a further
concern. As Tia DeNora observes, ‘Music can be used as a device for the
reflexive process of remembering/constructing who one is, a technology for
spinning the apparently continuous tale of who one is’ and as ‘a device for
the generation of future identity and action structures, a mediator of future
existence’ (2000: 63). Andy Bennett focuses on ‘how the increasing dominance
of the retro market in contemporary popular culture is enabling respective
postwar generations effectively to relive their youth and to engage in
nostalgic representations of what it means to be young’ and ‘how such
nostalgic perceptions impact on perceptions of contemporary youth and
questions the validity of terms such as “Generation X”’ (2001: 153).

Media/internet coverage of popular music nostalgia is particularly extensive
in many national contexts. Chris Tinker (2012) has, for example, examined the
significance of popular music nostalgia on French television, particularly
following the launch of the successful Âge tendre et têtes de bois (‘Young and
Headstrong’, David Looseley’s translation) series of concert tours and holiday
cruises. Such coverage has several functions: to represent the past more
positively than the present (‘simple nostalgia’), emphasise joy rather than
the ‘bittersweetness’ (Hirsch 1992; Baker & Kennedy 1994; Madrigal &
Boerstler, 2007…) often associated with nostalgia, represent a fantasy
return to youth, and promote social and cross-generational cohesion. Coverage
also supports popular music nostalgia as a commercial force but problematises
its status within the wider musical and cultural field.

Of particular importance are the ways in which popular music nostalgia is
experienced by listeners and consumers. Holbrook and Schindler describe, for
example, how, ‘via a process called nostalgic bonding, a consumer’s history of
personal interaction with a product during a critical period of preference
formation that occurs roughly in the vicinity of age 20 (give or take a few
years in either direction) can create a lifelong preference for that
object’ (2006: 109). Cases include informants who ‘experienced strong
nostalgic bonding with musical recordings’ (119), a young DJ who ‘describes
his endless hours spent with a particular mixing device’ (119) and a bass
fiddle/double bass player in New York who ‘focuses on a Metropolitan Transit
Authority (MTA) button given to street musicians who perform in the
subway’ (120).

A further – more institutional – dimension of the imbrication of nostalgia and
popular music is the way in which public policy has gradually developed
definitions of heritage which extend to cover fields of popular cultural
practice and forms, specifically allowing popular music artists, genres and
works to be included not only in private/commercial ‘Halls of Fame’, but also
to figure in official institutions supported by cultural policy. In the UK,
the National Centre for Popular Music was a short-lived example of this trend
but in other established museums, popular music is increasingly ‘remembered’
either through special collections, or simply made more visible through
curatorial devices such as the V&A museum’s ‘subject hub’ for Pop and Rock
music. In France, the Cité de la musique has established a successful
intermingling of celebration, education and nostalgia through temporary
exhibitions devoted to popmusic artists and genres. Nostalgia is a component
in the transformation of popular music into heritage.

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