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Humanities 2016, 5(3), 71; doi:10.3390/h5030071

Vulnerable Life: Zombies, Global Biopolitics, and the Reproduction of Structural Violence

Division of Communications and Languages, Rio Hondo College, 3600 Workman Mill Rd., Whittier, CA 90601, USA
Academic Editor: Myra Mendible
Received: 1 June 2016 / Revised: 17 August 2016 / Accepted: 17 August 2016 / Published: 25 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race, Politics, and the Humanities in an Age of 'Posts')
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Abstract

This essay offers an intervention in biopolitical theory—using the term “vulnerable life” to recalibrate discussions of how life is valued and violence is justified in the contemporary bioinsecurity regime. It reads the discursive structures that dehumanize and pathologize figures in U.S. zombie narratives against the discursive structures present in contemporary legal narratives and media reports on the killing of black Americans. Through this unsettling paralleling of structures, the essay suggests how the current ubiquity of zombies and the profusion of racial tension in the U.S. are related. In the process, the essay emphasizes the highly racialized nature of the zombie itself—which has never been the empty signifier it is often read as—and drives home just how dangerous the proliferation of postracial and posthuman discourses can be if they serve to elide historical limitations about the highly political determinations of just who is quite human. View Full-Text
Keywords: biopolitics; race; zombies; postracial; posthuman; #BlackLivesMatter; violence biopolitics; race; zombies; postracial; posthuman; #BlackLivesMatter; violence
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Pokornowski, S. Vulnerable Life: Zombies, Global Biopolitics, and the Reproduction of Structural Violence. Humanities 2016, 5, 71.

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