Subjective destitution, love, and rebellion in pandemic times: Theorizing with Hot Skull


Sociology and Criminal Justice

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Dystopian visions of global pandemics, political crises, and human suffering abound, from fictitious television shows to the ongoing ravages of COVID-19. When we witness isolated instances of suffering and collective struggle, and identify their relationship to large-scale social crises, we are unveiling pieces of the totality. Things which might otherwise be portrayed as a local problem are instead viewed as a part of a larger social system. The Turkish Netflix series Sıcak Kafa (English title: Hot Skull) offers a story of pandemic lockdowns, rebellion, love, and subjectivity, touching upon important issues of radical political theory and action. This article connects key moments in Hot Skull to several important Marxist and psychoanalytic concepts, showing how the collective struggles in this Netflix series can help us identify concrete instances and attempts at overcoming violence in the modern world-system. By comparing the events of Hot Skull to our current predicament of living through a deadly pandemic, this article reaches an important conclusion: Our ability to radically change our circumstances through chance encounters with love and political rebellion remains real, potent alternatives to living in a persistent state of isolation and despair.

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Human Geography(United Kingdom)

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