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International Gothic in the Neoliberal Age

Over the course of the past twenty-five years, as neoliberal economics has transformed the geopolitical landscape, monsters have overrun popular culture. This book explores literary, televisual, filmic and dramatic works from distant and diverse countries. It traces the vampire's evolution from the nineteenth-century past of industrial capitalism to the neoliberal present's accelerated violence and corrupt precarity, and discusses the NBC television mini-series Dracula, perfectly encapsulating our own post-recessionary subjectivity. The book addresses state capitalism but turns readers' attention away from the vampire and towards the ghost, focusing on the ways in which such spectral figures have come to dominate new German theatre. On the biotechnology sector, the book presents three examples: cinematic depictions of the international organ trade in Asia, the BAFTA award winning three-part series In the Flesh broadcast in BBC3, and literary representations of the dehumanised South African poor. The book moves from the global to the local, and charts the ways in which post-2006 house owners are trapped in the house by the current economic situation, becoming akin to its long-term resident ghosts. The ghost estates, reanimated and reimagined by the Irish artists and film-makers, are shown to embody the price paid locally for failures in global economic policy. The preoccupation with states of liminality is encapsulated by showing that the borders of the nation state have become a permeable membrane. Through this membrane, the toxic waste of first world technology seeps out alongside the murderous economic imperatives of the neoliberal agenda.

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Neoliberal gothic
Linnie Blake and Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet

appeasement that champions public welfare whilst refusing to challenge capitalism as a model. Part I. Neoliberal gothic monsters Since its inception, the gothic monster has provided a ready means of mobilising alterity discourses, the abject otherness of the vampire, the werewolf and the zombie enabling a critique of social norms and values, available models of

in Neoliberal Gothic
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Capitalising (on) ghosts in German postdramatic theatre
Barry Murnane

Postdramatic theatre attempts to stage the abstract, numinous financial structures of neoliberalism, capitalising on its ghosts in order to ground its own phantasmagorical formal experimentation. This chapter discusses the structural similarities and links between neoliberal financial models and postdramatic theatre. It analyses an early German response to the rise of neoliberal ideology and economics following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Heiner Muller's Germania 3.Gespenster am Toten Mann documents the expansion eastwards of western ideology from the perspective of a playwright from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). It develops an image of western consumerism and finance as a motor for new forms of haunting. It also analyses Dea Loher's later Manhattan Medea as an example of gothic postdramatic theatre that employs spectral figures to reproduce and critique the spectral financial models at the heart of an established global, neoliberal world order.

in Neoliberal Gothic
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Refiguring Dracula in a neoliberal age
Stéphanie Genz

This chapter discusses how the contradictory field of forces set in motion by the unfolding economic crisis are articulated in the 2013 televised version of Dracula. Dracula provides a new outlet for the commodification of the vampire and the corporatisation of the gothic. The chapter argues that Dracula highlights not only the increasing humanisation of the vampire, but also a specifically post-recession, capitalism-weary environment caught between the need for simultaneous restoration of growth and austerity. The raunchy and explicit sex scenes in the Dracula bolster audiences' voyeuristic viewing pleasures. The scenes also reassert the vampire as an exceedingly erotic, insatiable creature whose bite will transform the victims into predatory but alluring vampires themselves. Adopting neoliberalism's entrepreneurial ethos of self-responsibility, self-care and determination, Dracula resolves to become the master of his own fate and engage in what Anthony Giddens calls the reflexive 'project of the self '.

in Neoliberal Gothic
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The vampire and neoliberal subjectivity
Aspasia Stephanou

This chapter examines the figure of the vampire as symptomatic of contemporary neoliberal subjectivity and the way it relates to the current understanding of capitalist relations. The threat of the vampire represents fears of being deprived of life and opportunity, of losing in the neoliberal game. It is possible to argue that today those individuals who are able to adapt to the current state of affairs by playing the neoliberal game and sharpening their fangs against anyone who threatens their selfish interests are the survivors. Given the fact that neoliberal life is predicated on the freedom of consumer choice, the inability to participate due to inadequate financial income results in ostracism, aggression and violence. In this game of fangs only the fittest survive, and an ideology of Social Darwinism is perpetuated that seeks to exclude by spreading fear and polluting relations.

in Neoliberal Gothic
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Gregory Nava’s Bordertown and the dark side of NAFTA
Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet

Gregory Nava's 2006 film Bordertown, a gothic thriller starring Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas, is based on the real circumstances of the murders and their failed investigations. Bordertown indicts the factory owners and managers and the governments of Mexico and the US, and specifically names North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as creating the conditions that allow these murders to happen. By representing the wealthy villain as a vampiric figure, the film also makes him into a personification of the predatory effects of the neoliberal political economy that keeps women like Eva living in precarity: unsafe at work, unsafe on the streets and unsafe in her shanty-town home. Thus, the real villain in the film is NAFTA itself, and the neoliberal policies that shaped it, especially as these exploit and exacerbate the existing power structures along racial and gender lines.

in Neoliberal Gothic
Representing organ trafficking in Asian cinemas
Katarzyna Ancuta

This chapter analyses the representation of organ harvesting and trade/trafficking in eight post-2000 Asian films. It discusses the films' consistent portrayal of transplantation as dependent on criminal networks and activities, and their critique of neoliberal medicine as responsible for deepening the economic divisions within Asian societies. Driven by market economy rather than ethics, neoliberal medicine sanctions sacrificing the disadvantaged for profit in the name of medical progress. The chapter offers a reading of the potentially gothic figures of vengeance appearing in the films in terms of a narrative strategy of resistance. Gothic figures of vengeance feature in many organ trade narratives. As the systematic acts of bio-violence are justified by the neoliberal State, which thrives on bio-power, the weak resort to weaving organ theft narratives as their strategy of resistance.

in Neoliberal Gothic
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German nuclear cinema in neoliberal times
Steffen Hantke

Compared to the number of films devoted to nuclear war, the catastrophic nuclear accident never acquired its own cinematic genre. Disaster films about civilian nuclear accidents would seem perfectly poised to serve that function to nuclear power as a technology emblematic of recent neoliberal politics. This chapter examines three films in order to explore this hypothesis about the confluence of gothic representations and neoliberal politics within the realm of nuclear power. The films discussed include Gregor Schnitzler's Die Wolke, Andreas Prochaska's Der erste Tag, and Volker Sattel's Unter Kontrolle that that deal with nuclear power in the European context and from a uniquely German perspective. Die Wolke and Der erste Tag project the abolition of nuclear power into an imaginary future, either as the democratically desired result of the lesson learned from history or as the inevitable outcome of economic and political strictures.

in Neoliberal Gothic
Zombie pharmacology In the Flesh
Linnie Blake

Dominic Mitchell's BAFTA award-winning three-part series In the Flesh was first broadcast on BBC3 in March 2013, with a second six-part series following in May 2014. This chapter argues that the series participates in the contemporary mass-cultural deployment of the zombie as a means of exposing and exploring the impact of neoliberal economics on the social and cultural organisation of the world and, in turn, the models of subjectivity available to its inhabitants. In its deployment of mad science, its depiction of the dungeons of Big Pharma's contemporary torture-house and the bleak wildness of the rain-lashed northern moors, in its broken urban estates and hellfire-preaching villages, In the Flesh undertakes a highly gothic queering of neoliberal England. Thus it interrogates both the contemporary state of the nation and the rights, responsibilities and subjectivity of us all.

in Neoliberal Gothic
Affect and ethics in fiction from neoliberal South Africa
Rebecca Duncan

Gothic as it is being written in postmillennial South Africa is a particularly engaged, particularly politically aware form of fiction-making. The monstrous, the horrifying and the weird (hallmarks of gothic narrative) are being mobilised in the post-apartheid culture of letters as one literary means through which to negotiate dissonant relationships with the neocolonial operation of neoliberal capital. Gothic seeks to occasion intense, sensory engagements with its readers and audiences, to the extent that it positions these as vulnerable or affectable. Fictions of this kind might offer us a means by which to begin a rerouting of the dehumanising principles of self-gain on which the logic of neoliberal capital is founded. In her Precarious Life, Judith Butler proposes that places of vulnerability constitute points from which an ethical mode of being might be projected.

in Neoliberal Gothic