Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (911.97 kB)

The Discursive Problematization of Death, Dehumanization and Sociocultural identity: An Analysis of 'The Walking Dead'

Download (911.97 kB)
posted on 2021-12-08, 10:56 authored by Skye, Victoria

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.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Media Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970120 Expanding Knowledge in Languages, Communication and Culture

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies


Schirato, Tony