Cultural Politics in Harry Potter: Life, Death and the Politics of Fear, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Cultural Politics in Harry Potter

Life, Death and the Politics of Fear, 1st Edition

Edited by Rubén Jarazo-Álvarez, Pilar Alderete-Diez


288 pages

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Hardback: 9780367206628
pub: 2019-09-17
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Cultural Politics in Harry Potter: Life, Death and Politics of Fear is the first book-length analysis of topics such as death, fear and biopolitics in J. K. Rowling’s work from controversial and interdisciplinary perspectives. This collection brings together recent theoretical and applied cultural studies and focuses on three key areas of inquiry: wizarding biopolitics and intersected discourses; anxiety, death, resilience and trauma; and politics of fear and postmodern transformations. As such this book:

  • provides a comprehensive overview of national and gender discourses, as well as the transiting bodies in-between, in relation to the Harry Potter books series and related multimedia franchise;
  • situates the transformative power of death within the fandom, transmedia and film depictions of the Potterverse and critically deconstructs the processes of subjectivation and legitimation of death and fear;
  • examines the strategies and mechanisms through which cultural and political processes are managed, as well as reminding us how fiction and reality intersect at junctions such as terrorism, homonationalism, materialism, capitalism, posthumanism and technology.

Exploring precisely what is cultural about wizarding politics, and what is political about culture, Cultural Politics in Harry Potter is key reading for students of contemporary literature, media and culture, as well as anyone with an interest in the fictional universe and Wizarding World of Harry Potter.


This book extends previous scholarly analysis of Rowling’s work to new canon like the Cursed Child play and Fantastic Beasts film, while also addressing unexplored and important topics such as the War on Terror and trauma. It is a welcome and important addition to the field.

Cathy Leogrande, Le Moyne College

Table of Contents



A Note on Abbreviated Book Titles

List of Contributors

SECTION 1. Wizarding (Bio)politics and Intersected Discourses

1. The Chosen One(s): Ethnic Election and Contemporary English National Identity in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series. Chellyce Birch

2. Squibs, Disability and Having a Place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Maureen Saraco

3. A Magic Manic Pixie Dream Girl? Luna Lovegood and the Concept of Postfeminism. Maria Nilson

4. "Like an Old Tale": Art and Transformation in the Harry Potter Novels and "The Winter’s Tale". Mary Villeponteaux

SECTION 2. Death Culture, Trauma and Anxiety

5. Death Sells: Relatable Death in the Harry Potter Novels. Breanna Mroczek

6. The Last Enemy: Harry Potter and Western Anxiety about Death. Christina Hitchcock

7. "A Story About How Humans Are Frightened of Death": Harry Potter, Death and the Cultural Imagination. Anna Mackenzie

8. Arthur, Harry and the Late Mother: From T.H. White to J.K. Rowling. Justine Breton

9. King’s Cross: Harry Potter and the Transformative Power of Pain and Suffering. Anne Frances N. Sangil

10. When Spares are Spared: Innocent Bystanders and Survivor’s Guilt in "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child". Jessica Seymour

11. Death Culture, Literary References and Postmodern Sacred Elements in Harry Potter as a Transmedia Franchise. María Isabel Escalas-Ruiz

12. Death and How to Deal With it in the Harry Potter Series. Pilar Alderete-Diez


SECTION 3. Trauma, Politics of Fear and Postmodern Transformations

13. Al-Qa'ida and the Horcruxes: Quests for Immortality by Violent Extremists Organizations and Lord Voldemort. Neil D. Shortland and John Anthony Dunne

14. Gender, Sexuality and War on Terror in Harry Potter and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them". Rubén Jarazo-Álvarez

15. Magic as Technological Utopia? Unpacking Issues of Interactivity and Infrastructuring in the Potterverse. Luigina Ciolfi

16. Flirting with Posthumanist Technologies in Harry Potter: Overconsumption of a Good Thing – Technology as Magic. Mary Nguyen

About the Editors

Rubén Jarazo-Álvarez is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Balearic Islands, Spain. He teaches Cultural and Media Studies. His research comprises British tele-fantasy, sci-fi and Anglophone cultures in Spain.

Pilar Alderete-Diez is a University teacher at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She teaches language, translation and interpreting, and modern children’s literature and film. She completed an MA (Spanish) on the Translation of Humour and Character Voice in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2005.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Science Fiction & Fantasy
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Politics