‘I Can Feel It, That's Where I Belong': Using Nostalgia and Authenticity in Telling Stories of Belonging in Place
This paper examines how people evoke themes of nostalgia and authenticity in stories of places over time in order to negotiate change and create a continuous story of belonging. Individuals place themselves in an explicit moral relationship to a past community through eliciting memories that are distant enough to create a distinct sense of ‘otherness’ with the present. ‘We’ then become the group who can ‘remember’, and ‘they’ are those who cannot. Only the authentic ‘we’ can draw on the nostalgic tropes of memories of ‘our’ past. Whereas nostalgia positions the present in opposition to the past, authenticity brings past and present together through ongoing, inalienable relationships often embedded within objects and places.
A collection of biographical narratives and photo-elicitation interviews with people who have ‘stayed put’ all their lives will be used to show how discourses of both nostalgia and authenticity are used to justify affective belongings through material objects, buildings and specific places in order to create an ‘authentic’ belonging to the community.