#kamworkshops2011 | zombie-theories
[…] let us ask a naïve question: why do the dead return? The answer offered by Lacan is the same as found in the popular culture: because they were not properly buried, i.e., because something went wrong with obsequies. The return of the dead is a sign of a disturbance in the symbolic rite, in the process of symbolization, the dead return as collectors of some unpaid symbolic debt. […] The return of the living dead, then, materializes a certain symbolic debt persisting beyond physical expiration.
It is commonplace to state that symbolization as such equates to symbolic murder: when we speak about a thing, we suspend, place in parentheses, its reality. It is precisely for that reason that the funeral rite exemplifies symbolization at its purest: through it, the dead are inscribed in the text of symbolic tradition, they that, in spite of their death, they will “continue to live” in the memory of the community. The “return of the living dead” is, on the other hand, the reverse of the proper funeral rite. While the latter implies a certain reconciliation, an acceptance of loss, the return of the dead signifies that they cannot find their proper place in the text of tradition. (p. 23)
Žižek, Slavoj. Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan Through Popular Culture. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1991