Retrology: Addicted to the Future

  • Markus Heidingsfelder
  • Society and Culture in South Asia, June 2016, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/2393861716642389

Systems theoretical analysis of retro

What is it about?

We live in a pop age gone loco for retro. Some observers even fear that we may "run out of past". This article offers another way of looking at the current retro trends. Maybe retro isn't a problem, but the solution to a problem?

Why is it important?

The mass media and scientific research seem to agree that retro is something 'bad', especially when it's nostalgic. This paper makes use of Bartleby's rejection technique: it "prefers not to" (use moral distinctions or think of retro as a disease). Instead, it observes the retro observers - called 'retrologists' - to then offer a functional analysis to overcome the subcomplexities of current retro observations.


Dr Markus G. Heidingsfelder
Habib University

I'm interested in observation patterns, and 'pop theory' still reproduces neo-Marxist figures; the observers seem to 'know better' - which forms pop should be producing, which direction popular music should take -, instead of dealing with pop's realities. I think the observation of pop should be founded on pop, not on politics (or only on economy). Secondly, I find the persistence of the subversion paradigm in pop discourse quite fascinating, which is also visible in research on retro. Last but not least I'm interested in implementing precise concepts in this discourse, for instance to support the colleagues who do some amazing big data research on pop, but don't have any solid sociological theory design at their disposal yet.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Markus G. Heidingsfelder