Spaces of Communal Misery: The Weird Post-Capitalism of Beasts of the Southern Wild

  • Marlon Lieber
Part of the Geocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies book series (GSLS)


Marlon Lieber provides a reading of the ambivalent politics of Benh Zeitlin’s 2012 film Beasts of the Southern Wild. Drawing on Jameson’s suggestion that popular culture articulates ideological and utopian desires, he shows that Beasts attempts to envision social relations beyond wage labor, capital, and the state, but ends up affirming neoliberal and patriarchal ideologemes. The film represents an impoverished Louisiana community’s efforts to maintain their way of life after a storm reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina. However, its insistence on communal autonomy is deeply compatible with the neoliberal hostility to the state’s responsibility to protect vulnerable populations. Moreover, it suggests that communal solidarity can figure as a noncapitalist form of wealth. Yet, it impoverishes human potentialities through an emphasis on values coded as masculine.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlon Lieber
    • 1
  1. 1.Christian-Albrechts-UniversitätKielGermany

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