Restorative nostalgia, identity closures, conflicts and divisions


  • Federico Zannoni University of Bologna



nostalgia, neo-fascism, xenophobia, conflict, collective imagination


Nostalgia is a complex emotion produced by the individual and collective processes of remembering. Svetlana Boym distinguishes between reflective nostalgia, regarding the personal reactions to the passing of time, and restorative nostalgia, which acts on the collective level in response to the need to look at the past, that is presented in rigid and immutable forms and is considered a constitutive value of the present. Restorative nostalgia feeds nationalistic revivals and processes of historical revisionism and proselytism around hate speeches, based on retrotopies that, in the face of the insecurities and the crisis movements of the present time, paint a more flourishing past, in which life was easier, sheltered from the problems brought by globalization and the greater permeability of national borders. The popularity and consensus obtained in Italy, Sweden, and other European countries by nationalist parties, as well as the rhetoric of patriotism expressed by Vladimir Putin in support of his war action in Ukraine, are the most striking manifestations of a culture of identity closure, of fear, suspicion and opposition that has recently found expression also in the no vax and conspiracy movements. Hence the need for pedagogical reflection and educational interventions that know how to act on the mechanisms of presentisation of the past and identity closure, to educate to openness and not to be afraid of fragility and weaknesses.




How to Cite

Zannoni, F. (2023). Restorative nostalgia, identity closures, conflicts and divisions. Educazione Interculturale, 21(1), 37–45.