For a long time the Haitian zombie has been the subject of fascination, an inspiration for popular culture, and one of the globally recognized cultural idioms. This article is an attempt to confront up-to-date research and theory and to provide a holistic summary of the entire spectrum of the cultural and social phenomena to which the concept of a zombie is linked. First, the text focuses on the origins of the belief in zombies, its perception and the social role that is attributed to it, and the process of its creation - from the intertwined perspective of the Voodoo religion and Haitian folklore. This is followed by an analysis of the zombie and zombification as a cultural idiom and metaphor, shaped by the acculturation and traumatic social experiences in a historical perspective. In the postcolonial and neocolonial era the zombie was the subject of reinterpretation and often of ideological manipulation. Haitian literature exemplifying the intellectual discourse of the island uses zombification as a symbol of deprivation and the social and psychological destruction of personality and identity. The discourse of the North, on the other hand, exploits the idiom of a zombie as a tool of the impounded representation of Haitians, where the myth of the living dead allows for the creation of new meanings and ideological structures of political and economical hegemony.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.