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Open Access A theoretical approach to vintage: From oenology to media

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The term ‘vintage’ is common in our modern-day vocabulary. The concept to which it refers is familiar in the fields of oenology and fashion studies but has also, more recently, appeared in those of media and cultural studies. However, a theoretical and historical exploration of its evolution prior to the 20th century is still missing from much literature. This article is a first attempt to fill this gap by discussing patterns of vintage in contrast to retro and kitsch (notions with which it is often blurred). Vintage and its relationship with nostalgia and media are then analysed as part of the discourses and practices that engage with contemporary obsessions with the past. An examination of historical and more recent vintage patterns also leads us to discuss the uses and production of analogue and digital vintage objects. On a more general level this reflection on vintage within media studies might also be inspiring for other research or professional domains.
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Keywords: analogue; digital; media; nostalgia; vintage

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Katharina Niemeyer is an Associate Professor at the French Press Institute and member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Analysis of the Media (University Paris 2, Sorbonne Universities). She is co-founder of the International Media and Nostalgia Network and a Council Member of the International Association for Media and History. Her major areas of research lie in the field of media culture, media theory, and semiotics. She is particularly interested in the interrelations between media and memory and history by focussing on (media-)events, commemorations, and nostalgia. Among her recent books is the edited volume Media and Nostalgia: Yearning for the Past, Present and Future (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Publication date: September 1, 2015

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  • NECSUS is an international, double-blind peer reviewed journal of media studies connected to NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies) and published by Amsterdam University Press. The journal is multidisciplinary and strives to bring together the best work in the field of media studies across the humanities and social sciences. We aim to publish research that matters and that improves the understanding of media and culture inside and outside the academic community. Each volume includes feature articles, a special thematic section, a video essay section, and a reviews section that covers books, festivals, and exhibitions. NECSUS is targeted to a broad readership of researchers, lecturers, and students, and will be offered as a biannual open access, online journal.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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