Technology Nostalgia as a Field of Research

Andreas Böhn



Nostalgia is a characteristic of our time, and it extends more and more also to technology. Rapid technological change is as well a cause of modernisation and related social developments as a cause of reluctance to new technologies and nostalgic longing for the past. Good examples for this phenomenon are media technologies. As media are part of the world of our everyday life they are also object of personal memories. Changing and developing in the flux of time, they are no more what they used to be in a former stage of our life. Therefore they form part of an expanding culture of memory, with aspects of musealization and nostalgia. This nostalgia of the media does not only extend to the material remains (media archives, personal collections etc.) but also to their specific way of appearance and representation, the way they let us see the world generated by them. Media do increasingly devote themselves to this nostalgia of the media, which means that they rely to different historic versions of themselves or of other media. Therefore nostalgia of the media in the media is a way of self-reference of the media, because media refer to themselves as subject to historic development, remembrance, oblivion, destruction etc. But nevertheless a nostalgic attitude towards media technologies, as in the case of other technologies as well, does not exclude openness for new technological developments, but may also very well coexist with the latter.


nostalgia; modernization; media technologies; technological change; memory culture

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: