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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter starts with an exanimation of the emotion of nostalgia drawn from different fields, including psychology, politics, and organization studies and identifies some current points of agreement as well as disagreement. After a brief discussion of current conceptualizations of identity, especially in relation to emotions, the author looks at the literature that seeks to link nostalgia to identity both as a group phenomenon and as an individual experience. The chapter examines in turn nostalgia in relation to individual identity, organizational identities, and more broadly social and national identities. It is argued that nostalgia aims to maintain a sense of continuity in the face of discontinuity and disruption, both at the individual and group levels. It is an emotion that can strengthen communal bonds but can also assume aggressive forms against ‘othered’ social groups that are cast in the role of wreckers or disruptors. Within organizations, nostalgia can support employee resistance against modernizing forces, but can also be appropriated by modernizing management regimes to legitimize changes ostensibly aimed at restoring desirable qualities of the past. The chapter concludes by proposing that nostalgia can be viewed as an anchor to the past, one that stops identities from drifting or being overwhelmed or wrecked by a changing world and offers some reflections for future research.

Keywords: nostalgia, identity, emotion, othering, group identities, self-narratives, psychological defences, social identity, storytelling

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