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The Zombie Economy and the Aesthetic of Austerity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalAngles: New Perspectives on the Anglophone World
Accepted/In press10 Dec 2018

King's Authors


This article explores the present-day zombie economy as the embodiment of the aesthetic of austerity in Anglo-America. It uses the zombie monster metaphor to capture the multi-scalar manifestations of crisis under conditions of enduring austerity in unique ways. The theme of undeath, or living death, connects ‘dead’ economic ideas that are reanimated through the zombie economy to the logic of ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA). Moreover, the zombie monster permits a visceral connection between the harm inflicted on people’s physical and mental health to the underlying set of values perpetuated by austerity. It is the crisis at the scale of the body that manifests as the zombie macroeconomy of austerity. The contribution of this paper is that it articulates the aesthetic of austerity as the troubled boundary between what is alive and what is dead, which in a corporeal form life and death is an absolute binary, but in political-economic terms is currently in flux.

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