Monsters of the Market

Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism


Winner of the 2012 Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize.

Monsters of the Market investigates the rise of capitalism through the prism of the body-panics it arouses. Drawing on folklore, literature and popular culture, the book links tales of monstrosity from early-modern England, including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, to a spate of recent vampire- and zombie-fables from sub-Saharan Africa, and it connects these to Marx’s persistent use of monster-metaphors in his descriptions of capitalism. Reading across these tales of the grotesque, Monsters of the Market offers a novel account of the cultural and corporeal economy of a global market-system. The book thus makes original contributions to political economy, cultural theory, commodification-studies and ‘body-theory’.

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David McNally, Ph.D (1983) is Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto. He is the author of five previous books and has published widely on political economy, Marxism, and contemporary social justice movements.
Winner of the 2012 Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize.

"Monsters of the Market is essential reading for anybody working in the field of critical social theory, critical sociology, political economy, etc., and suitable for a wide range of theory and culture courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels." - Mark Worrell, in: Marx and Philosophy Review of Books, 29 February 2012

"The most vicious of monsters are those with human faces. Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires, and Global Capitalism explores Marx's consistent use of folklore and monster as metaphor in his criticism of capitalism. From Frankenstein and the dissection of the market, vampires that feed off the misery of others, among other ideas ... Monsters of the Market is an intriguing way of exploring economics, very much recommended reading." - Midwest Book Review

"David McNally ... has written an excellent book. [He] approaches the topic from a more comprehensive framework. Unlike other works of "monsterology," he links the production of meaning with the economic mode of production while also researching its manifestations across the world ... Monsters of the Market is well worth reading: it demonstrates that the marginalized—those who inevitably become the misshapen—have a long history across different cultures of articulating narratives of resistance to the various modes of night thrown up by a pitiless global system." - Thomas Ponniah, [Full review]

1. Dissecting the Labouring Body: Frankenstein, Political Anatomy and the Rise of Capitalism
‘Save my body from the surgeons’
The culture of dissection: anatomy, colonisation and social order
Political anatomy, wage-labour and destruction of the English commons
Anatomy and the corpse-economy
Monsters of rebellion
Jacobins, Irishmen and Luddites: rebel-monsters in the age of Frankenstein
The rights of monsters: horror and the split society

2. Marx’s Monsters: Vampire-Capital and the Nightmare-World of Late Capitalism

Dialectics and the doubled life of the commodity
The spectre of value and the fetishism of commodities
‘As if by love possessed’: vampire capital and the labouring body
Zombie-labour and the ‘monstrous outrages’ of capital
Money: capitalism’s second nature
‘Self-birthing’ capital and the alchemy of money
Wild money: the occult economies of late-capitalist globalisation
Enron: case-study in the occult economy of late capitalism
‘Capital comes into the world dripping in blood from every pore’

3. African Vampires in the Age of Globalisation
Kinship and accumulation: from the old witchcraft to the new
Zombies, vampires, and spectres of capital: the new occult economies of globalising capitalism
African fetishes and the fetishism of commodities
The living dead: zombie-labourers in the age of globalisation
Vampire-capitalism in Sub-Saharan Africa
Bewitched accumulation, famished roads, and the endless toilers of the Earth

Conclusion: Ugly Beauty: Monstrous Dreams of Utopia
All those interested in Marxism, cultural studies, global political economy, as well as students of literature, folklore and popular culture.
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