Nostalgia reconsidered

Paula Sweeney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Nostalgia is standardly assumed to be directed towards the past, to involve some salient feeling of the irretrievability of the past, and to be directed towards the memory of an event. In this paper I argue that none of these standard assumptions hold. I use a time-traveller example to demonstrate that nostalgia is not essentially past-directed. Once nostalgia is prised from the objective past, we can examine the other purported conditions, making space for the conclusion that the felt irretrievability of the past is not the necessary feature of nostalgia that we assumed it to be. I then argue that the notion that nostalgia is directed towards the memory of an event is misguided. Finally, I distinguish two routes to nostalgia and, with this distinction in place, argue that nostalgia is neither essentially time nor place directed. Nostalgia is simply change-directed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-190
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • atemporal nostalgia
  • nostalgia and change
  • nostalgia in marketing
  • nostalgia
  • nostalgia triggers


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