Can Nostalgia Be Dangerous? Post-Soviet Nostalgia as Retrotopia: The Emotional Dynamic and Fluctuations of the Social Order
The chapter presents the sociological reflection on the nostalgic sentiments drawing on the example of Russia. Nostalgia, containing a narrative of the past and involving practices of symbolic return to the past, is closely linked to collective memory and trauma. Through the analysis of emotional dimension of nostalgia—from an individual coping strategy to state politics—the author considers the potential “dangers” of nostalgic moods that can lead to a real reconstruction of the past social order. The focus is on the constellation of emotional dynamic of the widespread post-Soviet nostalgia and its social factors, which can feed the collective memory of the Soviet past and current political regime. In Russian society since the early 2000s, the extensive increase in the level of nostalgic sentiments for the Soviet times was recorded in surveys. This massive piece of data can be interpreted as evidence of the chronic resentments and fatigue from social transformations intensifying the affective commitment for the late Soviet times mythologically perceived as a period of social stability, security, greatness, and rightful way of life. So, in Russia, the post-Soviet nostalgia has mutated to a kind of retrotopia, which is also enhanced by the nature of the late-modern world.