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SOC246H1 (20)

The Living Dead Summary

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University of Toronto St. George
Markus Schafer

THE LIVING DEAD THE CONSTRUCTION OF PEOPLE WITH ALZHEIMERS DISEASE AS ZOMBIESADAlzheimers diseaseppl who are diagnosed as having it have been stigmatizedAD stigma is of a specific sortit is dehumanization based on disgust and terror strong neg emotional responses to AD are buttressed by the social construction of ppl w AD as zombies this common referencing of zombies is significant as it infuses the social discourse about AD w a politics of revulsion and fear that separates and marginalizes those w ADINTRODUCTION the ultimate horror is dehumanizationa state in which emotional life is suspended in which the indvl is deprived of judgmentppl w dementia can be treated as already dead and as walking corpses to be both pitied and feared despite their obvious signs of lifein an age of increased sensitivity to the social and political harms caused by stereotypes to disease it is disconcerting to find that frequent and overt references to zombies in regards to AD as a label it commands fear before sympathy because it has been marketed largely through its most debilitating demeaning and despairing featureswhether or not these references to zombies are explicit or implicit however there has been no study of the specific ways in which AD patients have been socially constructed as zombiesthat the social construction of ppl w AD as zombies is highly problematic stems from the horrifying zombie trope in popular culture neither arguing that the zombies in the dead films are metaphors or allegories for those w AD nor that AD is actually a social construction rather than a medical conditioninstead argues that the frightening celluloid images of fictional characters called zombies have leaked into the popular and scholarly discourse about real ppl whohave AD constructing them as animated corpses and their disease as a terrifying threat to the social orderthe zombie instills fear by drawing from cultural anxieties and then reflecting them back to the pop that in turns breaths life and strength into them by applying this fictional rep to social realitiesin this way social construction of those w AD as zombies generates not only the neg stereotypes and stigma associated w ppl constructed as other but also the emotional responses of disgust and utter terror this paper explores how the fusion of AD patient w zombie has taken place and its ramifications
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