Nostalgic narratives: an exploration of black nostalgia for the 1950s

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Abstract

This study is an exploration into the sociology of nostalgia. Interviews with AfricanAmericans who grew up in the 1950s demonstrate the juxtaposition of painful recollections of segregation with pleasant nostalgia for family, community, and church during that decade. The data are interpreted by drawing upon the work of Fred Davis. It is suggested that nostalgia facilitates the continuity of identity. Other functions of nostalgia are suggested as well. It is significant to note that the nostalgia expressed by informants is for the collective-e.g., the strength of family relations, church membership, and neighborhood ties. This study addresses the nature and experience of nostalgia and discusses the role of nostalgia in the process of constructing and maintaining identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-325
Number of pages23
JournalNarrative Inquiry
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

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