Resisting James Bond : Power, Privilege, and Social (In)Justice in the Daniel Craig Era
Edited by Lisa Funnell and Christoph Lindner
When it was released in 2006, Casino Royale notably shifted the development and design of the James Bond films. The film not only introduces Daniel Craig in the title role but also reboots the iconic brand by retelling Bond’s origin story from the moment he attains his “00” license to kill. Across the orphan origin trilogy – Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace (2008), and Skyfall (2012) – the Bond formula is deconstructed, with defining elements either reworked or gradually reintroduced, effectively updating the films to compete in both narrative and visual terms against Hollywood blockbusters in the global film market. The sequels Spectre (2016) and No Time To Die (2020) continue to flesh out the violent personal history of Bond as he fights to ensure the physical safety and resource security of Britain and its allies.
While popular with critics and fans, the Craig era films relay troublesome messages about power, privilege, and issues of social, racial, and environmental justice. Depictions of sexism and misogyny are particularly pronounced as Bond’s character develops at the expense of women who are threatened, physically/sexually abused, professionally maligned, and/or killed. Moreover, the intersection of gender with race and age points toward multiple and coexisting experiences of violence and oppression. While some films are arguably more progressive in their representation of women than others, the Craig era, as a whole, is decidedly regressive – especially when their gender politics are compared to those featured in some earlier films. With the exception of producer Barbara Broccoli, women play a limited role in the creative development of the Craig era films and Phoebe Waller-Bridge was added to the scriptwriting team of No Time To Die late in the process on the insistence of Daniel Craig. Ultimately, the dominant experience shaping the Craig era films is one of privilege (i.e. white, masculine, cis-gender, heterosexual, middle-classed, able-bodied, Western, etc.).
The Craig era films emerge at a time of increasing social and political unrest around the world. The new millennium has seen the rise of various social justice movements that challenge deeply entrenched systems of inequality and oppression such as racism, mass incarceration, national/ethnic sovereignty, sexual violence, LGBTQIA+ rights, immigration, religious oppression, pay and wealth inequality, corporate capitalism, reproductive justice, environmental justice, and climate change, among others. Growing awareness of, and advocacy for, these issues has been matched within the academy by an increasing number of scholars producing thoughtful and engaging research exploring systems of oppression, their intersections and permutations, and their disproportionate and negative impact on marginal/minority groups. While focus is often placed on individual actions and institutional policies and practices, it is important to recognize the role that culture plays within these systems. Mainstream blockbuster film, for example, is not simply ‘mindless’ entertainment but a key part of a global cultural industry that naturalizes and normalizes privilege. A comprehensive understanding of social injustice requires a detailed consideration of how culture shapes, maintains, and rationalizes various forms of oppression (e.g. “isms” such as racism and ableism) and produces fear (e.g. “phobias” such as homophobia and xenophobia) in service of maintaining the status quo.
As we come to the end of the Daniel Craig era and the Bond franchise prepares to cast a new actor in the title role and reinvent itself once again, now is the right time to examine how this particular grouping of 007 films constructs and mobilizes conditions of power, privilege, and social injustice. Resisting James Bond is a transdisciplinary collection that explores inequality and oppression in the world of 007 through a range of critical and theoretical approaches. We are looking for original essays that analyze the Craig films from a variety of scholarly disciplines (moving beyond textual analysis from an English and/or Film Studies perspective) and explore topics that have yet to be addressed in sufficient depth. We are particularly interested in amplifying voices and perspectives that are often stereotyped or overlooked by the franchise itself.
We welcome chapter proposals on a variety of topics that include but are not limited to :
- sexual violence
- systematic racism
- white nationalism
- queer readings
- LGBTQIA+ invisibility/erasure
- ableism and disability
- the global south
- immigration and mobility
- border and security studies
- imperialism and decoloniality
- popular geopolitics
- capitalism and wealth inequality
- climate change
- resource conflict
- environmental justice
Please submit a 250 word abstract along with an academic CV to Lisa Funnell (email@example.com) by September 15, 2020. Please direct any questions or inquiries to this email as well.