New publication on Netflix’s Stranger Things

Two exciting things happening today: Stranger Things season 4 part II is out on Netflix, and our paper on the psychology of Stranger Things has been published in Journal of Popular Culture!

I’ve had the chance to collaborate with two awesome academics, Dr Kevin Lu (from my alma matter, Uni of Essex – Kevin was very much part of my MA & PhD journey), and Dr Will Sharp (Northeastern Uni, USA).

My research is typically heavy on methodology and philosophy of science, so I’ve really enjoyed writing this article with my colleagues. This piece is situated within the psychoanalytic framework to explore feelings and processes that are depicted in the show, yet are also psychologically universal: complex relationships with parents; abandonment; attachment issues; feelings of nostalgia for events that we have experienced in the past or wished to have been able to experience; and finally, the loss and mourning of childhood freedoms.

The gist of the article: Stranger Things is both aesthetically and emotionally appealing to a variety of audiences and generations, including those viewers who have experienced their childhood in the 80s, and Gen Z viewers who have been born into a world full of smart devices, trackers, and apps; in other words, a world with a different kind of escapism from that portrayed in the show. In this way, the show plays into the nostalgia of our real and imagined childhoods.

My contribution to the article is the chapter titled ‘Things Can Only Get Stranger: Nostalgia, Loss, and Mourning’. The language of this piece is easy to read, and so I invite all Stranger Things lovers to give it a go by clicking the following link.

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