The Discursive Problematization of Death, Dehumanization and Sociocultural identity: An Analysis of 'The Walking Dead'
The zombie is a significant cultural figure which is represented and produced as being symptomatic of and relevant to contemporary concerns about death and dehumanization. This thesis will focus on the ways that death and dehumanization are changing and being negotiated within popular cultural representations and discourses regarding zombies, particularly in Frank Darabont’s television series The Walking Dead. The thesis will consider the way in which the figure of the zombie is representative of issues and discourses that are indicative of a problematization of the category of the human, and the notion of the transcendental. This will involve an examination of the changing narratives of the body, with particular regard to consumerism and the insistence of the body as a major site of the truth and value of the self, in contrast to the horrifying bodily form of the zombie. The thesis will also examine the way that dehumanization is problematized in The Walking Dead, where the human/non-human distinction is shown to be increasingly precarious and difficult to sustain. Further, the thesis will examine how the zombie is represented as manifesting the collapse of identity, as agents become alienated from the social discourses, narratives and values which constitute and categorize the subject.