Collective nostalgia as a balm for the distressed social identity

Michael J.A. Wohl*, Anna Stefaniak, Anouk Smeekes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Group history provides the experiential building blocks that shape social identity. When contemporary events are perceived as having created (or creating) a discontinuity with that history, collective nostalgia is likely to be elicited. Importantly, collective nostalgia is functional—it consolidates social identity, motivating group members to support a return to the group’s “true” state of existence. However, no group is a monolith. Factions within a group may have differing opinions on what aspects of the past best represent core features of the ingroup. Variations in the content of the collective nostalgia can cleavage members’ responses. Herein, we review research demonstrating the powerful role collective nostalgia and its contents play in intra- and intergroup relations, especially in the socio-political domain.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101542
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Early online date13 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Collective nostalgia
  • Collective nostalgia content
  • Collective action
  • Group-based emotions


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