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Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism

Second Edition


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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Section IV: Conclusion


Conclusion Section IV I consider the survival of [fascism] within democracy to be potentially more menacing than the survival of fascist tendencies against democracy. —Theodor W. Adorno It is no coincidence that “zombie” has emerged as a powerful metaphor in the popular imagination for different registers of the walking undead—parasites who have a ravenous appetite for destruction, moral and political collapse, mass murder, and rebellion. Many young protesters have used the metaphor for de- scribing the death-dealing practices and policies of ruling institutions, financial lobbyists, and a class of the financial elite that have gutted and cannibalized the economy. But they have also appropriated the metaphor for a present emptied of any future for the young, a time in which massive numbers of young people are stuck in an aimless and destructive cycle of survival populated by zones of abandonment that promote civil and social death. These young people, along with the unemployed, homeless, and working poor, among others, are confront- ed every day with the violence of inequality. Zombies represent the threat of a new kind of apocalypse, one in which the political outcome is not guaranteed but largely favors those in control of the media, military, state, and other com- manding institutions of zombie capitalism. In the Dead Zone of Capitalism Chapter 16 160 Section IV | Conclusion For the zombie rich—corporate executives, bankers, hedge fund managers, and other members of the walking undead—the privileged outcome is the death of democracy, the elimination of that class...

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