Understanding the Affective Spaces of Political Performance
This chapter looks at the role of nostalgia in the creation of narratives around collective identity, drawing heavily upon Fred Davis' book Yearning for Yesterday: A Sociology Of Nostalgia, still one of the few texts to critically engage with the concept and to have considerable influence on academic research. The chapter explores how residents of Wheatley Hill, an ex-mining village, cope with the effects of pit closure and attempt to create a sense of collective identity and continuity in the face of apparent discontinuity. Nostalgic performances at the Heritage Festival wove a relatively smooth, coherent story about a community, excluding tales and experiences that deviated from its narrative of collective identity. Nostalgia links the present to a particular version of the past, from which painful experience is often avoided or somehow erased to positively enhance present emotional experience and sense of community.