Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Reflecting on the Past, Understanding the Present, and Controlling the Future: Pre-Nostalgia and Its Impact on Memory, Temporality, and Identity as Represented in Classic Films from the 1980s
by Mindich, Brad, M.A.L.S., Dartmouth College, 2016, 120; 10189805
Abstract (Summary)

Pre-nostalgia exists at the intersection of identity, memory, and temporality. The core difference between what is understood to be a nostalgic feeling versus a pre-nostalgic feeling comes from the individual’s motivation to act due to an instantaneous awareness of, or concern with, missing something at the exact moment of loss and prior to the creation of a recallable memory. The degree, scope, and nature of the motivation and the thing being missed are specific to the individual at that moment in time, and the catalyst for this awareness and its subsequent behavior is primarily due to an engagement with a cultural object. The types of cultural objects in question are almost infinite – music, film, cars, art, or another individual, among many others. This immediate connection with the object triggers a response from the individual that causes what I have described as a conscious or subconscious temporal compression and a newfound awareness of the perceived distance and proportion between this experience/awareness and the individual’s past, present, and future, and their understanding of their sense of self. This thesis seeks to explore and demonstrate the existence of this virtually undocumented phenomenon via two analytical and interrelated processes. First, I draw on psychoanalysis, philosophy, and nostalgia theory as foundational disciplines to document an academic structure of pre-nostalgia. Second, using the medium of film as a cultural object, I apply my research to identified characters, scenes, and soundtracks from several films from the 1980s to objectively demonstrate the manifestation of this phenomenon. The purpose of this dual analytical approach is to provide both spectators and evaluators of this theory an environment in which to objectively observe and understand what I believe is an intrinsic phenomenon, and my overarching goal is to advance the academic and practical discussion of memory and nostalgia theories.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rutler, Tracy L., Pease, Donald E.
Commitee: Minardi, Anna
School: Dartmouth College
Department: Arts in Liberal Studies
School Location: United States -- New Hampshire
Source: MAI 57/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Social psychology, Film studies
Keywords: Film, Identity, Memory, Motivation, Nostalgia, Pre-nostalgia
Publication Number: 10189805
ISBN: 978-0-355-39655-3
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