The haunting specter of retro consumption

Oscar Ahlberg*, Joel Hietanen, Tuomas Soila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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We propose to intensify theorizing on retromarketing and nostalgic consumption by further developing “hauntology” as a conceptual lens for assessing the retro aesthetic as a commodified affective excess of meaning. This allows us to explore the consumption of marketized retrospective signs not from the perspective of personal experiences or creative meaning-makings but rather as affective encounters that desire in consumption desperately latches onto. In our view, it is thus not an aesthetic satisfaction, nostalgic comfort, or playful emancipations that are offered to us by retro consumption. Following a darker development of hauntology, we find ourselves instead thrust into spectral presences that we can never quite articulate, a haunting within us in an atmosphere of late capitalism where temporal belief in the future has been “cancelled.”

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalMarketing Theory
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Oct 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Affect
  • future
  • ghost
  • hauntology
  • nostalgia
  • retromarketing
  • specter

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