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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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28

Media Armageddons and the Death of Liberal Biopolitics

Majia Holmer Nadesan

ABSTRACT

Over the last several years, Western audiences have been treated to a steady stream of post-apocalyptic disaster films. In this chapter, Majia Nadesan discusses The Road, The Book of Eli, and 9, arguing that these films can be distinguished thematically from the more general disaster genre by their exclusive focus on post-disaster survival and their invocations of cannibalism. Significantly, she connects the emphases on post-apocalyptic survival and cannibalism to the profound social dislocations experienced by US citizens in the wake of the financial crisis. The chapter contends that thematic elements of the films are metaphors for the ascendancy of a form of financial capitalism that dispenses with labor-based suppositions of value. Nadesan contends that financial capitalism has no interest in Western, liberal biopolitics, and that the current slate of post-apocalyptic disaster films is a cultural barometer of the malaise experienced by newly expendable populaces, increasingly confronted with their excess in relation to post-disaster capitalism.

Introduction

Disaster films emphasizing post-apocalyptic landscapes dominate the recent cinematic imagination. Public anxieties surrounding the fear of terrorist attacks, global warming, flu pandemics, and fiscal crises are no doubt channeled into these films. Yet, what is unique about the contemporary disaster film is its tendency to emphasize post-disaster ...

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