The Economy Two: Is old becoming new?

I had a great conversation with another Morphologist in Germany on the weekend, reviewing some recent psychological research on both sides of the Atlantic. One big insight that stood out was a shift towards re-creating family and cultural traditions (both in Europe and North America). It seems that in the face of mounting economic and social pressure, people are feeling an urge to re-connect with memories and history.
Sunday dinners, DIY, knitting, charity, baking, crafts, car pooling, bicycles and fedoras; there appears to be a real desire to connect with the past. For example check out the pictures from the latest Target home ware range termed ‘Grandpa’s kitchen aesthetic’ by PSFK. Old is becoming new again. 

Here’s a quote from an interviewee in North America:

“Every night now we say grace. The kids now say ‘mum, we have to say grace’. I don’t know where it came from, but they seem really smiley when they say it…I really don’t know what caused it, it just started. It’s funny because we’re not religious.” - Female (2009)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about defaulting to the past – there seems to be a process of generational mashing going on here. It’s a process of blending tradition with transformation, history with change.

Here are some more examples:

Taking the old and making the new…

It doesn’t surprise me that people are turning to the past whilst looking to the future. One of the fundamental concepts of morphological psychology is the existence of tensions in everyday human behaviour – like the tension between history and change.

History and change are not opposed to each other; they are two faces of the same coin. It’s the foundation of history that helps us create change. Given this current economic climate, it might be important for brands and products to frame their vision for the future with a bit of history.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the Obama inauguration speech. A bit of the future and the past mixed together.

Andrews-Hobbs said...

Agree with Anonymous on this.. we live in the ultimate "age of the mash-up"