© 2016


  • Combines writings from Karl Marx and Erich Fromm to conceive of the rule of dead capital over living labor

  • Establishes an understanding of necroculture that is useful to parse technofuturism, concerns with immortality, and more


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-v
  2. Charles Thorpe
    Pages 1-52
  3. Charles Thorpe
    Pages 53-91
  4. Charles Thorpe
    Pages 93-151
  5. Charles Thorpe
    Pages 153-204
  6. Charles Thorpe
    Pages 205-259
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 261-270

About this book


In this book, the author draws on Karl Marx’s writings on alienation and Erich Fromm’s conception of necrophilia in order to understand these aspects of contemporary culture as expressions of the domination of the living by the dead under capitalism. Necroculture is the ideological reflection and material manifestation of this basic feature of capitalism: the rule of dead capital over living labor. The author argues that necroculture represents the subsumption of the world by vampire capital. 


Zombies necrophilia Marx Fromm alienation pornography torture vampire capitalism popular culture possessive individualism biotechnology robotics extinction exterminism Tea Party libertarianism gun culture

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

About the authors

Charles Thorpe is Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Science Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego, USA. He is the author of Oppenheimer: The Tragic Intellect (2006) and has been featured in The British Journal of Sociology, Science as Culture, Science Fiction Studies, and Theory, Culture and Society.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Necroculture
  • Authors Charles Thorpe
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-58302-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-93111-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-58303-1
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages V, 270
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Media Sociology
    Sociology of Culture
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“‘Necroculture’, the productivist ideology which denies climate change and promotes techno-salvationism is expressed as a complete capitulation to the perceived power of capital, not to preserve life but to reproduce it as something which transcends death.” (Debra Benita Shaw, New Formations, Issue 91, 2017)

“In Necroculture, Charles Thorpe challenges this received wisdom by gathering an ambitious array of macrosocial ills into cohesive categories and then drawing theoretical purchase from Karl Marx and Erich Fromm to explain them. … Necroculture is a must-read for anyone interested in studying such camouflaged macrosocial addictions.” (Shawn Van Valkenburgh, Critical Sociology, August, 2017)