Mediating neo-feudalism

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This essay discusses contemporary film and media in relation to the political economic concept of neo-feudalism. Questioning the application of a science-fiction dialectics to these media and the tendency to see them as symptoms of the rise of neofascism, the essay rather connects their themes, narratives, and visual styles to Marxist (Dean) and classical (Hudson) discussions of capitalism's transition to neo-feudalism, as well as to the affect of ressentiment as a means of "governing by debt" (Lazzarato). It then turns to the films of Bong Joon-ho, including Parasite (2019) and Okja (2017), to show how they critique neo-feudalism while also remaining limited by ressentiment and individual acts of revenge. The final part reads the more complex treatments of identity and performance in Jordan Peele's Us (2019) and Boots Riley's Sorry to Bother You (2018) through the connections they make between neo-feudalism and racial capitalism (Robinson).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPostmodern Culture
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021

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