Neoliberalism, Zombies and the Failure of Free Trade
The popular cultural ubiquity of the zombie in the years following the Second World War is testament to that monster‘s remarkable ability to adapt to the social anxieties of the age. From the red-scare zombie-vampire hybrids of I Am Legend (1954) onwards, the abject alterity of the ambulant dead has been deployed as a means of interrogating everything from the war in Vietnam (Night of the Living Dead, 1968) to the evils of consumerism (Dawn of the Dead, 1978). This essay explores how, in the years since 9/11, those questions of ethnicity and gender, regionality and power that have haunted the zombie narrative since 1968 have come to articulate the social and cultural dislocations wrought by free-market economics and the shock doctrines that underscore the will to global corporatism. The article examines these dynamics through consideration of the figure of the zombie in a range of contemporary cultural texts drawn from film, television, graphic fiction, literature and gaming, each of which articulates a sense not only neo-liberalism itself has failed but simply wont lie down and die. It is therefore argued that in an age of corporate war and economic collapse, community breakdown and state-sanctioned torture, the zombie apocalypse both realises and works through the failure of the free market, its victims shuffling through the ruins, avatars of the contemporary global self.
provide the same results’
(Manyika and Roxburgh, 2011 : 60).
However, the gothic does not deal, as we know, in the
rational and optimistic. Its job is to articulate fear and anxiety and to
thrill and chill us with terrible possibilities. Not surprisingly, then,
globalgothic focuses on certain negative aspects of globalisation,
including corporatism, neo-imperialism and the dangers of living in a
Other that has been employed historically in the service
of, among others, colonial, nationalist, patriarchal and religious
discourses (Pickering, 2001 ) –
transmutes into a modern form of economic imperialism based on
predatory corporatism and its mantra of doing just about anything to
increase profits. 12 If
Dracula can be positioned on the productive side of