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Pandemics and the Media

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Marina Levina

Offering a comprehensive analysis of mediated representations of global pandemics, this book engages with the construction, management, and classification of difference in the global context of a pandemic, to address what it means – culturally, politically, and economically – to live in an infected, diseased body. Marina Levina argues that mediated representations are essential in translating and making sense of difference as a category of subjectivity and as a mode of organizing and distributing change. Using textual analysis of media texts on pandemics and disease, she illustrates how they represent a larger mediascape that drafts stories of global instabilities and global health. Levina explains how the stories we tell about disease matter; that the media is instrumental in constructing and disseminating these stories; and that mediated narratives of pandemics are rooted in global flows of policies, commerce, and populations. Pandemics are, by definition, global crises.
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Chapter 5. Zombie Pandemic and Governance of Life Itself

← 100 | 101→ ·5·

Extract

In May 2011, The Centers for Disease Control posted a preparedness guide to a zombie apocalypse on their blog. The blog post proved to be so popular that, in two days, the website crashed (Marsh & McCune, 2011). The blog post read:

There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.

In movies, shows, and literature, zombies are often depicted as being created by an infectious virus, which is passed on via bites and contact with bodily fluids.

The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen. In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder “How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?”

Well, we’re here to answer that question for you, and hopefully share a few tips about preparing for real emergencies too! (Khan, 2011)

← 101 | 102→ The CDC also published a graphic novella illustrating basic principles of emergency preparedness using a zombie apocalypse as a simulation. In the novella, a news channel announces, “Several people have...

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