An extract from a conversation about Hauntology I had with Richard J. Lockley Hobson, independent researcher into all things that are H-related.
Below, a taster for his taster for a book he's currently writing on H-ology
SR "The one thing that came through more clearly when doing the chapter in Retromania was the extent to which my idea of Hauntology-as-music-genre, and my affection for it, is based around nationality. And I make this opposition between nationality and nationalism. Nationalism is political and it’s an ideology of national greatness or exceptionality. Nationality is pre-political I think – it’s the things I share with all other Britons including so many I have nothing in common with politically or in terms of chosen allegiances (musical, artistic, etc). Nationality in that sense is the pre-chosen, the given rather than what you consciously seek out or align yourself with... the realm of customs, everyday life, accents, gestures, rituals, routines, habits, common sense, food etc... the common inheritance of phrase and fable, idiom, and also, the arbitrary stylistic and design quirks of the typography used on everyday articles, the look of shops and public institutions, etc.
"I was just in the UK last week and being an expatriate now I notice this stuff that I would not have noticed when I lived there and it was all I knew. Also I just learned to drive so I’m paying more attention, but you know, things like road signs – where my mum lives in west Hertfordshire, signs like “weak bridges” or “traffic calming area” (for a zone with bumps in the road to stop drivers going too fast and running over little kids, presumably!). It’s in that kind of thing that the soul of a nation resides....
"A lot of Hauntology taps into this kind of thing, and largely the elements of the nation-soul or lifeworld that are fading away. Although whenever I go back to England I am quite amazed by how unchanged it is, indistinguishable, in large part, from the 1970s or 80s Britain that I remember. Old people still look the same. The main differences between then and now seems to be mobile phones and coffee"