Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Alien-Nation" Zombies, Immigrants & Millennial Capitalism

by Jean & John Comaroff, 1999

What might zombies have to do with the implosion of neoliberal capitalism at the end of the twentieth century? What might they have to do with post-colonial, post-revolutionary nationalism? With labour history? With the "crisis" of the modernist nation-state? Why are these spectral, floating signifiers making an appearance in epic, epidemic proportions in several parts of Africa just now? And why have immigrants-those wanderers in pursuit of work, whose proper place is always elsewhere-become pariah citizens of 'a global order in which, paradoxically, old borders are said everywhere to be dissolving? What, indeed, do any of these things, which bear the distinct taint of exoticism, tell us about the hard-edged material, cultural, epistemic realities of our times? Indeed, why pose such apparently perverse questions at all when our social world abounds with practical problems of immediate, unremitting gravitas?

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