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Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism

Second Edition

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Henry A. Giroux

In the second edition of Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism, Henry A. Giroux uses the metaphor of the zombie to highlight how America has embraced a machinery of social and civil death that chills any vestige of a robust democracy. He charts the various ways in which the political, corporate, and intellectual zombies that rule America embrace death-dealing institutions such as a bloated military, the punishing state, a form of predatory capitalism, and an authoritarian, death-driven set of policies that sanction torture, targeted assassinations, and a permanent war psychology. The author argues that government and corporate paranoia runs deep in America. While maintaining a massive security state, the ruling forces promote the internalization of their ideology, modes of governance, and policies by either seducing citizens with the decadent pleasures of a celebrity-loving consumer culture or by beating them into submission. Giroux calls for a systemic alternative to zombie capitalism through a political and pedagogical imperative to address and inform a new cultural vision, mode of individual subjectivity, and understanding of critical agency. As part of a larger effort to build a broad-based social movement, he argues for a new political language capable of placing education at the center of politics. Connecting the language of critique to the discourse of educated hope he calls for the reclaiming of public spaces and institutions where formative cultures can flourish that nourish the radical imagination, and the ongoing search for justice, equality, and the promise of a democracy to come.

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Preface: Dystopian Nightmares in the Ageof Savage Politics

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Preface The surplus of reality amounts to its collapse; by striking the subject dead, reality itself becomes deathly. —Theodor W. Adorno What kind of society emerges when it is governed by the market-driven assumption that the only value that matters is exchange value, when the common good is denigrated to the status of a mall, and the larger social order is composed only of individuals free to pursue their own interests? What happens to democracy when a government inflicts on the American public narrow market-driven values, corporate relations of power, and policies that impose gross inequities on society, and condemns young people to a precari- ous, debt-ridden existence in which the future begins to resemble a society of zombies engaged in a remake of dystopian films such as Mad Max (1979), Brazil (1985), RoboCop (1987), Minority Report (2002), District Nine (2009), Comopolis (2012) and The Purge (2013). What makes American society distinct in the present historical moment are a culture and social order that have not only lost their moral bearings but produce levels of symbolic and real violence whose visibility and existence set a new standard for cruelty, humiliation, and the mechanizations of a mad war machine, all of which serves the interests of the political and corporate walking Dystopian Nightmares in the Age of Savage Politics xii Preface dead—the new avatars of death and cruelty—that plunder the social order and wreak ecological devastation. We now live in a world overrun with flesh-eating zombies, parasites who have...

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