I am Zombie: Mobilization in WWII Canada and Forced “Zombie” Performances 1939-1947

Scott Thompson


This paper investigates the mediating role that technologies of classification and identification have on individual performances and subsequent identity construction. During WWII in Canada, ID surveillance technologies were developed to govern the behaviours of individuals conscripted into the Armed Forces. Legislation, however, limited how these conscripted soldiers could be deployed. Due to a cultural perception of a lack of patriotism associated with these conscript “Zombies,” the Army consciously developed policy to have conscripts adopt additional performances to identify them as Zombies in order to shame them into “volunteering” for General Service. This paper argues that as a result of implemented governing technologies, conscripted individuals took up new and undesired performances as Zombie soldiers, and furthermore, that these performances impacted how they were perceived culturally and worked to medi-ate their


Performance; Performativity; Identity; Identity Construction; Governance; Zombie; Canada; WWII;

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