Disney & His Worlds

Routledge
Free sample

This work provides an overview of the Disney organization, in particular the theme parks and their significance for contemporary culture. The author examines topics such as Walt Disney's life and how his biography has been constructed, the Disney Company in the years after his death and various writings about the Disney theme parks. He raises important issues about the parks such as: whether they are harbringers of postmodernism; the significance of consumption at the parks; and the representation of past and future. The discussion of theme parks links with the presentation of Disney's biography and his organization by showing how central economic and business considerations have been in their development and how the significance of these considerations is typically marginalized in order to place an emphasis on fantasy and magic.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Sep 2, 2003
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Pages
236
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ISBN
9781134849840
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This is the story of Sea World, a theme park where the wonders of nature are performed, marketed, and sold. With its trademark star, Shamu the killer whale—as well as performing dolphins, pettable sting rays, and reproductions of pristine natural worlds—the park represents a careful coordination of shows, dioramas, rides, and concessions built around the theme of ocean life. Susan Davis analyzes the Sea World experience and the forces that produce it: the theme park industry; Southern California tourism; the privatization of urban space; and the increasing integration of advertising, entertainment, and education. The result is an engaging exploration of the role played by images of nature and animals in contemporary commercial culture, and a precise account of how Sea World and its parent corporation, Anheuser-Busch, succeed. Davis argues that Sea World builds its vision of nature around customers' worries and concerns about the environment, family relations, and education.

While Davis shows the many ways that Sea World monitors its audience and manipulates animals and landscapes to manufacture pleasure, she also explains the contradictions facing the enterprise in its campaign for a positive public identity. Shifting popular attitudes, animal rights activists, and environmental laws all pose practical and public relations challenges to the theme park. Davis confronts the park's vast operations with impressive insight and originality, revealing Sea World as both an industrial product and a phenomenon typical of contemporary American culture. Spectacular Nature opens an intriguing field of inquiry: the role of commercial entertainment in shaping public understandings of the environment and environmental problems.
`Alan Bryman has expanded on his internationally well-known work on Disney theme parks and Disneyization to create a fascinating and highly readable book. It should prove of interest to beginning students in a number of different courses and fields, as well as to scholars interested in culture and consumption. There is no question that the model created by Disney, and emulated in whole or in part by many organizations and in many settings, will continue to influence social structure and culture well into the future. This is an important book about a significant social process. And, it manages to be a fun read, as well!' - George Ritzer, author of McDonaldization and Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland

`Bryman's analysis of contemporay consumption is full of detail and provides a host of examples ranging from restaurants and hotels, to theme parks, zoos and sports stadia. Without doubt students will find it an accessible text, one that should allow them to think about consumption, familiar consumer products, settings and activities, sociologically' - Barry Smart, Professor of Sociology, University of Portsmouth

`Bryman's dissection of Disneyization is a timely and significant contribution to the growing literature on Disney. In fact, his excellent analysis of the extension of Disneyization throughout society explains why we should care about the Disney phenomenon at all. This is not only an important book for Disney scholars, but for any one interested in the future of modern society' - Janet Wasko Professor of Communication Studies, University of Oregon

This is an agenda-setting new work in the sociology of culture and modern society. It argues that the contemporary world is increasingly converging towards the characteristics of the Disney theme parks. This process of convergence is revealed in: the growing influence of themed environments in settings like restaurants, shops, hotels, tourism and zoos; the growing trend towards social environments that are driven by combinations of forms of consumption: shopping, eating out, gambling, visiting the cinema, watching sports; the growth in cachet awarded to brands based on licensed merchandise; and the increased prominence of work that is a performance in which the employees have to display certain emotions and generally convey impressions as though working in a theatrical event. This insightful book demonstrates the importance of control and surveillance in consumer culture.

Of interest to a wide variety of students studying in business, sociology, cultural studies, media studies and leisure studies courses this will also be of interest to anybody interested in understanding the intricacies of modern society.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF "6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP'S WIN" AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist

"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal

"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.

Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.

Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.

What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking.

Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.

Bonus material added to the revised and expanded 2006 edition

The original New York Times Magazine article about Steven D. Levitt by Stephen J. Dubner, which led to the creation of this book.

Seven “Freakonomics” columns written for the New York Times Magazine, published between August 2005 and April 2006.

Selected entries from the Freakonomics blog, posted between April 2005 and May 2006 at http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/.

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