Revolutionary Nostalgia: Retromania, Neo-Burlesque, and Consumer Culture

Marie-Cécile Cervellon
EDHEC Business School, France

Stephen Brown
Ulster University, UK

Product Details
31 Oct 2018
Emerald Publishing Limited
232 pages - 129 x 198mm
Emerald Studies in Alternativity and Marginalization
Nostalgia, they say, is not what it used to be. Once a witticism, this statement about the past has come to pass. Nostalgia really isn’t what it used to be. Less than a generation ago, it was regarded as reactionary, as regressive, as reprehensible. Now, it is considered conducive to health, wealth, and human wellbeing. It is something that helps sell products and move merchandise, an underexploited critical resource with emancipatory potential. 

Nowhere is this transformation better illustrated than in the neo-burlesque community, whose members not only embrace the art-form’s golden age, and happily acquire heritage goods and vintage services, but turn their nostalgic leanings to emancipatory effect. They are retro revolutionaries, feather boa-wearing insurgents who find women’s liberation in sequins and stilettos. 

This book shines a spotlight on weapons-grade nostalgia, indicating how it is integral to insurrections throughout history, be they political, technological, or cultural. It reveals, through a combination of empirical ethnographic research and revolutionary literary criticism, the part nostalgia plays in a subversive consumer collective that uses fans, fishnets, and frivolity to fight for the right to party against patriarchy and find a fourth-wave form of female emancipation that foregoes old-school feminist fault-finding for good old-fashioned fun, fun, fun.
List of Figures
Preface: Retromania in Retrospect
Chapter 1. Introduction: Welcome to Wonderland
Section I: Past and Present 
Chapter 2. Borne Back Ceaselessly 
Chapter 3. Wheel Meet Again 
Chapter 4. Come the Revolution 
Section II: Focus and Findings 
Chapter 5. Burlesque in Brief 
Chapter 6. Considering Consumer Culture 
Chapter 7. Fans of Freedom 
Section III: Context and Concepts 
Chapter 8. Ghost Dance Stance 
Chapter 9. Retro Rising Redux 
Chapter 10. Dancing is Life 
Chapter 11. Conclusion: At the Hop 
Appendix I: Definitions of Nostalgia 
Appendix II: List of Informants
Marie-Cécile Cervellon is Professor of Marketing at EDHEC Business School, France, with a teaching expertise in brand management and luxury marketing. She has published in major international journals, including MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Business Research, and International Journal of Research in Marketing and has been quoted in Newsweek, The Financial Times, and The New York Times among other press outlets. 
Stephen Brown is Professor of Marketing Research at Ulster University Business School, UK. He specializes in retro branding, arts marketing and authorpreneurship. He has published in many leading Marketing journals including the Harvard Business Review, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Retailing and the Journal of Historical Research in Marketing. He is the winner of numerous best paper prizes, including the Hans B. Thorelli Award.  
This book provides a compelling overview and exploration into nostalgia, burlesque, and retro culture. The rich ethnography serves to provide a deeply textured portrait of revolutionary nostalgia in action, whilst the authors admirably navigate the theoretical terrain with gusto and aplomb, which makes the arguments resonate and linger with the reader.Katherine Duffy, University of Glasgow, in Cultural Sociology, 2020

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