UK brains under threat?

Oct 26, 2011

The British appetite for zombies is becoming a growing trend. From computer games and films to organised zombie walks though Britain's cities, the proliferation of zombies seems to be everywhere. Yet, this high interest in zombies enables researchers to link zombie-like behaviours to current models of public attitudes and actions.

Researcher Dr Nick Pearce will present findings from his new study of Britain's zombie phenomenon at an event organised as part of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Festival of Social Science 2011. The event will be an interactive talk on the metaphor of the zombie in everyday life, followed by a screening of the first ever zombie film, White Zombie (1932).

"Zombies are very now," Dr Pearce points out, "but what's really interesting and potentially worrying is how far today's zombies - whether on TV, films or computer games have departed from the original concept."

Early zombies, as first portrayed in the White Zombie film, were the demoralised, undead slaves of voodoo priests. "Crucially, the end of that film and others of its time, spoke of hope and featured the overthrow of the controlling voodoo master by his 'zombie' slaves," Dr Pearce explains. From the late 1960s the nature of zombies changed and they were portrayed as hordes of brain-consuming monsters with no voodoo context and no controlling master."

"With no voodoo master, today's zombies have no clear controller to turn against and free themselves from," Dr Pearce argues. "That means there are no effective plans for resistance and no hope for the future. Zombies may well be popular today because they speak to a similar feeling of shared by many members of our society."

"The key question," he continues, "is why, like today's portrayal of zombies, are we unwilling to take a stand against the powers-that-be and are overwhelmed by a lack of political interest. It seems the time is right to reclaim the original zombie concept of a controlling sorcerer but one that can successfully be resisted. Today's zombie phenomenon is a really good opportunity to get people thinking about who may be wishing to control our brains and what resources we have to resist."

But what do we feel powerless against? Among the many possibilities, researchers suggest private ownership is a high profile offender. Clearly it's in the interests of competition to encourage mindless consumerism. "In the past, zombies wandered around consuming brains, but today's zombies are encouraged to wander around consuming the latest, heavily advertised, branded goods," Dr Pearce explains. And for those with power, it's clearly useful to them to have a 'zombified' society that does not challenge their decision-making under any circumstances.

Explore further: No silver bullet: Study identifies risk factors of youth charged with murder

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Aussies to monitor Net for zombies

Nov 07, 2005

The Australian government has launched a trial program to ferret out "zombie" computers that have been hijacked to send out spam or viruses.

CDC's 'zombie apocalypse' advice an Internet hit

May 20, 2011

(AP) -- "Zombie apocalypse." That blog posting headline is all it took for a behind-the-scenes public health doctor to set off an Internet frenzy over tired old advice about keeping water and flashlights ...

Internet under attack by zombie computers

Jan 08, 2007

Computer code writers in Europe are the chief suspects in the creation of programs that turn other computers into zombie-like slaves for Internet crimes.

Stubbs The Zombie

Dec 22, 2005

In the midst of a futuristic city, a rotting, green-skinned zombie in a fedora hat and ruined suit shambles across the landscape. Spotting a lone citizen, he quietly creeps up, grabs his prey and begins to chew through the ...

Vampires and Zombies: No mere pop culture trend

Aug 06, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Vampires and zombies, both of which became a popular phenomenon in Victorian Britain, are all the rage. Temple English Professor Peter Logan believes this is no mere pop culture trend, but ...

Recommended for you

World population likely to peak by 2070

6 hours ago

World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and ...

Bullying in schools is still prevalent, national report says

7 hours ago

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers ...

Study examines effects of credentialing, personalization

10 hours ago

Chris Gamrat, a doctoral student in learning, design and technology, recently had his study—completed alongside Heather Zimmerman, associate professor of education; Jaclyn Dudek, a doctoral student studying learning, design ...

Data indicate there is no immigration crisis

Oct 22, 2014

Is there an "immigration crisis" on the U.S.-Mexico border? Not according to an examination of historical immigration data, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

User comments : 0