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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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17. Disimagination Machines and Punishing Factories in the Age of Zombie Capitalism


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Chapter 17

Disimagination Machines and Punishing Factories in the Age of Zombie Capitalism

In the United States of zombieland, zones of social and civic abandonment proliferate, dominated by neoliberal realities of austerity and intertwined with a culture of cruelty and economic and political pressures that reduce more and more people to what Joao Biehl calls “domestic inscriptions of invisibility.”1 The hard reality of state repression and violence is now matched by a pedagogical assault on all forms of subjectivity capable of self-reflection, autonomy, critique, and collective struggle. Dominant cultural apparatuses extending from schools to print, audio, and screen cultures now constitute pedagogical war zones attacking any critical notion of politics that claims to be educative in producing those conditions that might help change “the way in which people might think critically.”2

Aesthetics now serves the forces of ethical tranquilization as it produces and legitimates endless degrading and humiliating images of the poor, youthful protesters, and others considered disposable. Viewed as unworthy of civic inclusion, immigrants, youth, protesters and others deemed alien or hostile to the mechanizations of privatization, consumption, and commodification are erased from any viable historical and political context. These are the new walking dead, and they now fill the landscape of neoliberalism’s dream world, subject to a disimagination machine that criminalizes their behavior and relegates ← 177 | 178 → them to those public spaces that accelerate their invisibility while exposing them to the harsh machinery of social death. Catherine...

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