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Mobile nostalgias: connecting visions of the urban past, present and future amongst ex-residents

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alastair Bonnett


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Drawing on interviews with ex-residents of Tyneside (United Kingdom), this paper builds on recent reappraisals of nostalgia as a ‘productive’ and ‘living’ disposition, to show how fond memories and a sense of loss shape and sustain engagement with the city. In contrast to recent attempts to identify active nostalgia only with its ‘reflective’ forms, or to separate out ‘official’ and ‘non-official’ nostalgia, the paper demonstrates that nostalgias are mobile and interwoven. It is shown that ‘restorative’ and ‘reflective’ forms can co-exist and state-led practices of conservation be maintained in a complex and mutually sustaining relationship with more personal, less official, visions of the value of the past. Thus it is argued that urban nostalgia for the city needs to be acknowledged as a potentially critical intervention that draws together different modes of attachment and yearning.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bonnett A, Alexander C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Year: 2013

Volume: 38

Issue: 3

Pages: 391-402

Print publication date: 22/05/2012

ISSN (print): 0020-2754

ISSN (electronic): 1478-4009

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00531.x


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