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

21 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2011  

Peter Paik

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Date Written: August 18, 2011

Abstract

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.

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

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

Peter Paik (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee ( email )

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Milwaukee, WI 53211
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