The Gnostic Zombie and the State of Nature: On Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead

Peter Paik

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

August 18, 2011

This paper examines the political significance of the contemporary fascination with narratives of zombie apocalypse, focusing on the comics series The Walking Dead. The comic portrays a series of thwarted attempts by the main group of human survivors to escape the state of nature. My talk examines the political significance of this limitation within the narrative, relating it to the widespread sense of despair and helplessness that has overtaken capitalist liberal democracy in the wake of the global financial crisis. The series moves from no-win conflicts to intractable and tragic dilemmas, underscoring the waning of hopes for a better future and the fear of moving beyond an economic system that permits unlimited acquisition.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: apocalypse, mass man, capitalism, state of nature, Hobbes, Shaviro, Canavan, Agamben

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Date posted: August 19, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Paik, Peter, The Gnostic Zombie and the State of Nature: On Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead (August 18, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1912203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1912203

Contact Information

Peter Paik (Contact Author)
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee ( email )
Bolton Hall 802
3210 N. Maryland Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States
414-243-7340 (Phone)
414-229-2939 (Fax)
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