The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

(Some of) The Politics of the Hunger Games

March 21, 2012

As regular readers know, I assigned The Hunger Games in the last iteration of my SciFi class. Ever since then, I’ve been thinking about doing a short book with, one hopes, a less boring title than “The Politics of the Hunger Games.” Indeed, I just finished talking to an editor about it. Unlike the Harry Potter and International Relations volume that I co-edited, or the Battlestar Galactica volume that I co-wrote the conclusion for, this would be a short monograph intended for a non-academic audience.

So far I’ve sketched out chapters with titles like “Capitol Rules: Panem as Empire,” “Capitol Punishment: Panem as Totalitarian State,” “Playing by the Rules: Manipulation through Narrative,” “Capitol Falls: Revolutionary Politics,” “Katniss is not Bella: Class and Gender,” and “Bread and Circuses: Resources and Economics.” Obviously, some of these themes are pretty obvious (and covered in The Hunger Games and Philosophy), but for this kind of book, its less about originality than quality.

Thinking that I should probably find out what the interwebs are saying about the subject, I recently did a trusty google search. Turns out that the top hits include debates (e.g.) about whether the books are “conservative” or “liberal (uh, ok); an interesting, but rather strained attempt to link The Hunger Games to the politics of food; a somewhat disappointing New Yorker piece with “counterinsurgency” in the title; and a very wrongheaded analysis of Panem as an example of “asymmetric federalism.” So I guess there’s room here.

(Previously at the Duck, Charli talks Hunger Games.)

website | + posts

Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.