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On District 9 – the Alien as Racial Other

Published in Anglo-amerikanische Studien. 2013, vol. 44, p. 101-116
Abstract This essay examines Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (2009) and its use of the figure of the alien as a metaphor for the racial other. Following the trend of contemporary fantasy film and television, District 9 incorporates stigmatizing discourses and iconography that have contributed to the cultural construction of the category of race. While the film self-consciously stages and exposes prejudices and the social injustices of apartheid, segregation, police brutality, medical experimentation, and exploitation, it unwittingly reproduces and reinforces racist discourses. The essay begins by looking at the way in which the film maintains white supremacy through its focus on and focalization through the white main character, Wikus Van de Merwe. In addition, the essay shows how the film portrays a binary between “civilized” and “uncivilized” forms of being through its representation of human versus animalistic or savage characteristics. Finally, it explores how the film essentializes rather than challenges racial difference through scientific and medical discourses and the minor plot elements of genetics, disease, miscegenation, and homosexuality.
Keywords District 9AliensRacial otherAnimalismDisease
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FROHREICH, Kimberly. On District 9 – the Alien as Racial Other. In: Anglo-amerikanische Studien, 2013, vol. 44, p. 101-116. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:75964

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Deposited on : 2015-10-12

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