Clemson University professor Sarah Lauro believes that America’s obsession with zombies and zombie culture is part of a broader trend that suggests people are frustrated with society and the state of the economy.
Lauro, an English professor, studied zombies while working on her doctoral degree at the University of California at Davis. She keeps track of zombie movies, video games and television shows like “The Walking Dead.” The bulk of her research was centered around “zombie walks,” mass gatherings where people dress up like zombies and stagger around and dance.
Lauro, a self-described "chicken," finds the fascination with the undead unnatural. Her disinterest in the subject matter has made her research somewhat difficult, but she thinks that it’s worth it, reports ABC Local. "I hate violence," she said. "I can't stand gore. So it's a labor, but I do it."
Lauro says that zombie mobs originated in Toronto in 2003 and that they really began getting popular in the U.S. in 2005. The rise in popularity coincided with a rise in dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq. "It was a way that the population was getting to exercise the fact that they felt like they hadn't been listened to by the Bush administration," Lauro said. "Nobody really wanted that war, and yet we were going to war anyway."
As of last year, zombie walks had been documented in 20 countries. According to Guinness World Records, the largest gathering drew more than 4,000 participants at the New Jersey Zombie Walk in Asbury Park, N.J., in October 2010.
"We are more interested in the zombie at times when as a culture we feel disempowered," Lauro said. "And the facts are there that, when we are experiencing economic crises, the vast population is feeling disempowered. ... Either playing dead themselves ... or watching a show like 'Walking Dead' provides a great variety of outlets for people."
"If you were to ask the participants, I don't think that all of them are very cognizant of what they're saying when they put on the zombie makeup and participate," she said. "To me, it's such an obvious allegory. We feel like, in one way, we're dead."
Source: (ABC Local)