Methods of Enquiry

Essay by pinkpanther1University, Bachelor'sB+, November 2014

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Nostalgia originates from the 'Greek nostos, to return home, and algia a painful condition - thus a painful yearning to return home' (Davis, 1979 p.1).

Holbrook and Schindler (1991) define nostalgia as 'a preference (general liking, positive attitude, or favourable affect) toward 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)'. This focus on the fondness of objects rather than the memories related to them was also defined by Belk (1990), who suggested that the feeling of nostalgia was similar to 'a wistful mood that may be prompted by an object, scene, smell or a strain of music'.

Havlena and Holak (1991) and Stern (1992) clarified Holbrook and Schindler (1991) conception by splitting nostalgia into two different forms; 'Historical Nostalgia' and 'Personal Nostalgia'.

According to Stern (1992) historical nostalgia 'expresses the desire to retreat from contemporary life by returning to a time in the past' ("the way it was") (Stern, 1992 pg.13)

"even a time before they were born" (Marchegiani and Phau,2010 p.82). A clear desire to go back to the past can be seen here, however it is not clear whether this is a positive or negative idea.

Verplanken (2012) discovered that 'dwelling on a happy past is not beneficial for people who habitually worry, it can evoke the 'wounding realisation that some of the desired aspects of the past are irredeemably lost'. (Peters 1985, cited in Wildschut, Sedikides, Arndt and Routledge 2006 p.977) This "bittersweet" quality of the emotion is a 'distinguishing characteristic of the nostalgic condition'.

However, according to Kleiner, (1977) 'nostalgic reverie can serve to affirm one's positive qualities as a friend or family member'. This suggests that the state of nostalgia motivates people to...