Animating Biopolitics: Spaces and Bodies in Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell Open Access

Anderson-Lehman, Jesse Ray (2014)

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In what ways can we think of animation as animating biopolitics? In inventing this turn of phrase, I am attempting to embrace and expose a kind of catachresis or false metaphor. My analysis of Mamoru Oshii's films that comprise the Ghost in the Shell series embraces their unique communicability with each other, taking a catachretic perspective on the relationship between the two as both literal sequels in a narrative sense and figural reproductions of the same philosophies and approaches. This entwinement is something I have attempted to embrace in my chapter divisions as well. Chapter One: Virtual Spaces focuses on the distinctions between the virtualities of traditional cel animation and contemporary computer animation. It begins with a lengthy discussion of Thomas Lamarre's thoughts on animation as contained within his book The Anime Machine, as well as what could be perceived as a detour through his thoughts on the works of Hayao Miyazaki. It ends with a close analysis, utilizing new media theory, of some digital techniques used in the first Ghost in the Shell film, showing how the film creates spaces that we experience with a close sensuality without the invitation to invade and occupy them. Chapter Two: Material Bodies consists largely of a review of the literature surrounding both Ghost in the Shell films, particularly as it relates to animated bodies and the material body of animation. This leads into a discussion of Alexander Galloway's book Protocol, which allows me to reconceptualize the Ghost in the Shell series as a protocological system wrapped up in our contemporary neoliberal society of control. I embrace the uneven attack these chapters represent, whether they are focusing: on one film or many; on both phenomenology and new media theory; on spaces, machines, and bodies; and on the biopolitical engagement of all these things as one interrelated system. In doing so, I hope to end up with a tactical and tactile understanding of how the series animates biopolitics, seeming to both reject and affirm neoliberal impulses, while offering us a glimpse at a possible path of resistance.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter One: Virtual Spaces 6

Lamarre's Anime Machine 7

Miyazaki vs. Oshii 15

Digital Technology and Animation 24

Digital Alterations in Ghost in the Shell 29

Chapter Two: Material Bodies 39

Biopolitical Religion 40

Living Dolls 48

Perversity 56

Protocol 61

Conclusion 65

Bibliography 69

Filmography 71

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