This chapter offers a critical reading of a range of television narratives centred on diverse populations of the articulate dead, including grim reapers (Dead Like Me)…
This chapter offers a critical reading of a range of television narratives centred on diverse populations of the articulate dead, including grim reapers (Dead Like Me), sort-of-ghosts (American Horror Story), zombies (iZombie), what appear to be ‘just regular dead people’ (The Good Place, Les Revenants) and some other creepy and unusual manifestations of the undead (Intruders, The Fades). It suggests that the preponderance of the articulate dead on television is symptomatic of a broader cultural desire to talk both about death and with the dead. It also suggests that there are numerous opportunities to learn from fictional engagement with death and the dead, foregrounding the ways in which televisual narratives can operate to reiterate, critique and engage with social and cultural messages. The chapter takes a playful approach and seeks to distil some key ‘self-help’ aphorisms that the dead in these series might offer the living about how to approach life, death and everything inbetween, as they tell their audiences to ‘look within’ to identify the greatest threats to their selfhood, to persevere because ‘it’s never too late to change’, and to ‘never forget’ the dead and what they might have scarified for the living.
Cultural perceptions of the zombie have shifted dramatically in the twenty-first century. No longer only associated with anxiety and fear, zombie fiction often appeals to…
Cultural perceptions of the zombie have shifted dramatically in the twenty-first century. No longer only associated with anxiety and fear, zombie fiction often appeals to pleasure. One source of pleasure comes from ludification, the process whereby game-like principals and gameful elements shape non-game activities. Increasingly, print fiction borrows from games and uses ludic elements to shape narratives. As such, it has become embedded in convergence culture, a dynamic media ecology where top down processes compete with bottom up processes. This chapter argues that ludified zombie fiction brings this media ecology into sharp relief, revealing ways that gamification and ludification are just as apt to reinforce capitalist processes of commodification and neo-liberal ideologies of power as they are to dismantle them. Through a close reading of three contemporary zombie fictions, this chapter exposes tensions and contradictions in ludification. The dead body of the zombie, the nihilistic landscape of the post-zombie apocalypse and the futility of human endeavour in the face of walking death are all elements of genre that undercut the gamified pursuit of external utility-oriented goals. The chapter explores these knotty ethical and ideological problems, not only considering the zombie apocalypse as a gameful space for rethinking social organisation, but also recognising it as a platform for the promotion of neo-liberal ideologies that perpetuate existing power inequalities through coercive disciplinary regimes.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate how Marxist accounts of capitalism and capitalists as “vampiric” and “cannibalistic” can challenge the exploitation underlying…
The purpose of this paper is to investigate how Marxist accounts of capitalism and capitalists as “vampiric” and “cannibalistic” can challenge the exploitation underlying “monstrosity” of the diverse “liberal organization”.
To bear out this argument, it will critically turn to Marx's original description of capitalism as “vampire” like. It will do so by examining a range of theoretical and existing empirical research related themes of contemporary diversity.
The paper argues that in order to avoid becoming capitalist monsters it is imperative to adopt an explicitly anti-capitalist Marxist perspective centring on themes of a “monstrous” capitalism. Capitalist organizations, not only “suck the blood of workers” but turns them into exploiting vampires, feeding on others for own profit and promotion. Yet it also expands on such readings by emphasizing the liberating possibilities that a more contemporary view of “monsters” stressing radical diversity and difference can make to this Marxist critique.
To this end, it illuminates how a perspective uniting these ideals, termed here as a “revolutionary monstrous humanism”, can effectively challenge the dehumanization of managerial control and market ideologies while also fighting for the right of individuals to express their heterogeneous and always evolving unique cultural identities.