The society constructed upon work has collapsed. The answer? Nostalgia.
We live an age of nostalgia, incarnated by populist fantasies of “taking back control” and making nations “great again". In the long aftermath of the 2007-08 economic crisis, nostalgia has been established as the cultural zeitgeist of Western society. Populist fantasies of nostalgia represent a cry for help against the demise of the societal model of the postwar era, based on stable employment and mass consumption. The promise of an impossible return to the 'good life' of the 20th century, Gandini contends, particularly appeals to the older generations, who are incapable of making sense of the evolution of Western societies after decades of globalization and neoliberal policies. The younger generations, in the meantime, are instead trying to build a new 'good life' based on another form of return, this time to old practices of craft production and consumption.
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I highly recommend Zeitgeist Nostalgia to those with an interest in culture, history, politics, and economics. Gandini has filled the pages with thoughtful social critique backed by plenty of research and anecdotal examples of what he is discussing. Particularly in light of the radical divide between the values of older and younger generations, this book is helpful in understanding how we’ve gotten to this place as a society. ~ Alanna Kali musingmystical.com, Review
From Trump's backward-looking promise to "make America great again" to the hipster's fondness for a pre-industrial age of craft, nostalgia saturates our world. Gandini's book is a remarkable and insightful guide to this phenomenon, laying out the deep roots of its origins and setting out the contours of its limits. ~ Nick Srnicek, co-author of Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work
Nostalgia has become a pivotal driver in politics, work and consumption, but the role it plays is complex. This book is the most insightful and accessible treatment of this important topic that I have read. A key text for understanding contemporary modernity. ~ Giana M. Eckhardt, Professor of Marketing, Royal Holloway University of London
Agree or disagree with its rangy, punchy takes spanning Brexit, hipsterdom, Trump, postcapitalism and the world of work, Gandini's page-turner is a a pacy and accessible primer to some of the central cultural, political and economic dynamics of our time and the possible futures that lie ahead. ~ Frederick Harry Pitts, Lecturer in Management, University of Bristol and co-editor of Futures of Work
An essential map for anyone seeking to navigate a time that is thoroughly out of joint. Gandini steers us through the rear-view fantasies of contemporary populist politics, the retro-artisanal imaginaries of consumption and work in the Hipster economy, and the spectre of Marx animating techno-utopian dreams of a fully-automated luxury communism. The result is enlightening and unsettling in equal measures. ~ Chris Land, Professor of Work and Organization, Anglia Ruskin University