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Locating Zombies in the Sociology of Popular Culture


Correspondence address: Todd K. Platts, Department of Sociology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 2512 Manor Road, York, PA 17408. E-mail:


In this essay, focusing primarily on the cinema of the walking corpse, I provide an overview of zombie studies and suggest potential avenues for sociological inquiry into zombie phenomena. I argue that zombie films, comic books, novels, video games, and the like can be seen as significant cultural objects that reflect and reveal the cultural and material circumstances of their creation. Despite emanating from complex culture-producing institutions and (arguably) capturing extant social anxieties, sociology has remained quiet on zombie phenomena. Issues of significance, history, and definition are discussed. I then locate three avenues of inquiry ideally suited to the sociological toolkit: symptomatic analysis of content, production, and audience response and interaction. I conclude by calling for a multipronged sociological analysis into “zombie culture.”