Theories of International Politics and Zombies

Theories of International Politics and Zombies: Revived Edition

DANIEL W. DREZNER
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: STU - Student edition
Pages: 216
Stable URL: http:/stable/j.ctt7zvcg0
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  • Book Info
    Theories of International Politics and Zombies
    Book Description:

    What would happen to international politics if the dead rose from the grave and started to eat the living? Daniel Drezner's groundbreaking book answers the question that other international relations scholars have been too scared to ask. Addressing timely issues with analytical bite, Drezner looks at how well-known theories from international relations might be applied to a war with zombies. Exploring the plots of popular zombie films, songs, and books,Theories of International Politics and Zombiespredicts realistic scenarios for the political stage in the face of a zombie threat and considers how valid-or how rotten-such scenarios might be.

    This newly revived edition includes substantial updates throughout as well as a new epilogue assessing the role of the zombie analogy in the public sphere.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5228-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION … TO THE UNDEAD
    (pp. 1-10)

    There are many natural sources of fear in world politics—terrorist attacks, lethal pandemics, natural disasters, climate change, financial panic, nuclear proliferation, ethnic conflict, global cyberwarfare, and so forth. Surveying the cultural zeitgeist, however, it is striking how an unnatural problem has become one of the fastest-growing concerns in international relations. I speak, of course, of zombies.

    Whether they are called ghouls, deadites, rotters, walkers, skels, stenches, deadheads, post-humans, the mobile deceased, or the differently animated, the specter of the living dead represents an important puzzle to scholars of international relations and the theories we use to understand the world....

  5. THE ZOMBIE LITERATURE
    (pp. 11-22)

    It would be reckless to proceed with any discussion of the zombie problem without first reviewing the multi-disciplinary literature on the subject. Thankfully, the living dead are now the focus of rigorous scholarship, as figure 1 demonstrates. The humanities are replete with cultural decompositions of flesh-eating ghouls.¹ Philosophers have chewed over the conceivability and metaphysical possibility of zombies at some length.²

    The natural sciences have also started attacking the zombie question. Zoologists have looked at the presence of zombielike creatures elsewhere in the animal kingdom.³ Biologists have researched the disease-transmission properties of humans biting humans.⁴ Forensic anthropologists have considered how...

  6. DEFINING A ZOMBIE
    (pp. 23-24)

    Definitions of zombies range from the philosophical one of a human being without consciousness to the anthropological one of a person buried and then resurrected by a conjurer. US Strategic Command offers eight distinct categories of the undead in their counter-zombie plan—including chicken zombies.¹ Consistent with the Zombie Research Society, I choose to treat the zombie as a biologically definable, animated being occupying a human host, with a desire to eat human flesh.² This definition is at variance with the etymology of the wordzombiein West African and Haitian voodoo rituals. Those reanimated corpses, however, do not represent...

  7. DISTRACTING DEBATES ABOUT FLESH-EATING GHOULS
    (pp. 25-36)

    There is significant variation in zombie capabilities across the canon—and vigorous debate within the zombie studies community over these differences.¹ In most of the literature, zombies cannot talk, and do not retain any attributes of their human identities. There are distinguished exceptions, however, in both film (Dan O’Bannon’sReturn of the Living Dead, 1985; Robert Rodriguez’sPlanet Terror, 2007; Jonathan Levine’sWarm Bodies, 2013) and fiction.² In most of the narratives, only humans can turn into zombies; in the Resident Evil franchise, however, dogs and birds are affected as well. It is usually assumed that there are no gender...

  8. THE REALPOLITIK OF THE LIVING DEAD
    (pp. 37-50)

    There are many varieties of realism,¹ but all realists start with a common assumption—that anarchy is the overarching constraint of world politics. Anarchy does not mean chaos or disorder but instead the absence of a centralized, legitimate authority. No matter what ardent cosmopolitans or conspiracy theorists believe, there is no world government. With no monopoly on the use of force in world politics, every actor must adopt “self-help” measures to ensure continued existence. For realists, the primary actors are those that can guarantee their own survival—namely, states. Because force is the ne plus ultra of power, the actors...

  9. REGULATING THE UNDEAD IN A LIBERAL WORLD ORDER
    (pp. 51-64)

    Like the realist paradigm, there are many varieties of liberalism.¹ All liberals nevertheless share a common belief: cooperation is still possible in a world of anarchy. Liberals look at world politics as a non-zero-sum game. Mutual cooperation on issues ranging from international trade to nuclear nonproliferation to disease prevention can yield global public goods on a massive scale. These gains are not always distributed evenly, but they do make all actors better off than they would be in the absence of policy coordination. Major actors in world politics therefore have an incentive to realize the benefits that come from long-term...

  10. THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF ZOMBIES
    (pp. 65-74)

    Constructivism is the most recent international relations paradigm to achieve widespread scholarly recognition. Just as with the realist and liberal paradigms, there exists a plethora of constructivist approaches.¹ Constructivist approaches do share a set of core assumptions about world politics, however. These assumptions and causal mechanisms revolve around two central tenets: the social construction of reality, and the importance of identity in explaining and interpreting behavior on the world stage.

    For constructivists, material factors such as economic wealth and military power are important—but even more important are how social structures filter and interpret the meaning of those material capabilities....

  11. THE SUPERGENDERED POLITICS OF THE POSTHUMAN WORLD
    (pp. 75-86)

    Two important aspects about the living dead suggest that mainstream international relations scholars will not truly comprehend the magnitude of the threat. First, because most mainstream scholarship focuses on the state as the principal actor in world politics, researchers working in these traditions might be too slow to appreciate the dreaded risk posed by zombies. Second, one of the most basic yet underdiscussed aspects of zombies is their objectification of human bodies. By definition, the living dead do not view human beings as individuals with thoughts, feelings, and identities, but instead as bodies of tactile, sensual, delicious flesh just waiting...

  12. A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT ZOMBIE NETWORKS
    (pp. 87-88)

    Networks have recently become an important feature of international relations and attending scholarship.¹ A mélange of actors ranging from terrorist groups to social movements to corporate alliances to informal global governance structures appear to have network properties. Scholars are keenly interested in the ways in which social networks affect world politics, and researchers in international relations have used network analysis to model the structure and behavior of these entities. These complex structures are distinguished by the extent to which actors (also callednodesin the argot of network analysis) exploit their relationships with other actors (calledties). Some networks can...

  13. NEOCONSERVATISM AND THE AXIS OF EVIL DEAD
    (pp. 89-94)

    In the American foreign policy community, neoconservatives, or “neocons,” are treated as analytically distinct from either realists or liberals. Most international relations scholars view neoconservative foreign policies as possessing a mélange of liberal and realist tenets, but some believe that this approach represents an altogether different paradigm.¹ On the one hand, neocons agree with liberals about the importance of the democratic peace. Like liberals, neoconservatives believe that a world of democracies would be a more secure global order.² They accept the notion that democracies will not fight each other and, therefore, the world is a safer place when there are...

  14. DOMESTIC POLITICS: ARE ALL ZOMBIE POLITICS LOCAL?
    (pp. 95-108)

    The international relations paradigms discussed to date have been primarily systemic in their orientation.* Their sources of change and explanation in world politics come from the international structure as well as interactions among global actors. While elegant, a systemic approach might miss the more fine-grained power struggles that take place within the confines of domestic politics. The structure of domestic institutions, the state of public opinion, or the constellation of interest group pressures can affect a wide array of foreign policy and national security initiatives. At a minimum, domestic pressures can exert powerful constraints on the foreign policy leader’s negotiating...

  15. BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS: THE ʺPULLING AND HAULINGʺ OF ZOMBIES
    (pp. 109-120)

    All of the aforementioned paradigms share one implicit assumption: that international organizations and national security agencies will act with alacrity and dexterity when the dead start to roam the earth.

    This assertion is far from obvious. International organizations often fail to live up to their original founding ideas. Politicized staffing decisions and policy drift can cause these organizations to quickly devolve into dysfunction.¹ Domestic agencies suffer from similar problems.² Classic works on bureaucratic politics have modeled foreign and security policies as the outcome of “pulling and hauling” among multiple organizations with different agendas.³ Other organization theorists argue that political institutions...

  16. WEʹRE ONLY HUMAN: PSYCHOLOGICAL RESPONSES TO THE UNDEAD
    (pp. 121-130)

    Zombies are often assumed to lack intelligence, but it should be noted that humans frequently respond to new undead situations with confusion and ignorance. Indeed, even a cursory glance at human behavior in the zombie canon highlights puzzling or seemingly irrational actions on the part of the human characters. In Edgar Wright’sShaun of the Dead(2004), the protagonists insist that safety can be found in the local pub even though it is located in a densely populated urban area. In Ruben Fleischer’sZombieland(2009), some of the characters are oddly certain that a Disney-style theme park will be zombie-free....

  17. CONCLUSION … OR SO YOU THINK
    (pp. 131-136)

    A specter is haunting world politics—the specter of reanimated corpses coming to feast on people’s brains. To date, the scholarly response from international relations theory to the zombie menace has been only skin-deep. I have tried to take a much deeper cut at this looming problem. As the preceding pages should make clear, international relations theory offers some interesting and varied predictions and recommendations about how governments, international institutions, domestic interests, bureaucracies, and individuals would respond to the transnational threat posed by the living dead.

    A quick review reveals some interesting continuities across the different theoretical paradigms. For example,...

  18. EPILOGUE: BRINGING THE BRAIN BACK IN
    (pp. 137-146)

    By any observable metric, the living dead have become an even hotter pop culture phenomenon since the publication of the first edition ofTheories of International Politics and Zombies. The pace of zombie movie production had accelerated, and the 2013 film version ofWorld War Zgrossed more than half a billion dollars worldwide. Robert Kirkman’s AMC seriesThe Walking Deadhas become a ratings powerhouse, inspiring the development of like-minded shows. A running joke on Fox’sThe New Girlto demonstrate one character’s lack of career ambition is his unfinished zombie novel,Z Is for Zombie.¹ By any metric...

  19. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS TO THE FIRST EDITION
    (pp. 147-150)
  20. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS TO THE REVIVED EDITION
    (pp. 151-152)
  21. NOTES
    (pp. 153-164)
  22. REFERENCES
    (pp. 165-192)
  23. INDEX
    (pp. 193-198)

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