Disney and His Worlds

Disney and His Worlds

Disney and His Worlds

Disney and His Worlds

Synopsis

"Disney and his Worlds is a thorough overview of what is by now quite a large literature on the Disney organization, in particular the theme parks and their significance for contemporary culture. The author looks at Walt Disney's life and how his biography has been constructed; the Walt Disney Company in the years after his death; and the writings of various commentators on the Disney theme parks. He raises important issues about the parks: whether they are harbingers of postmodernism; the significance of consumption at the parks; the nature of the parks as tourism; and the representation of past and future. The discussion of theme parks is central but links with the presentation of Walt 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. In the process, the book questions the assumption that the parks are sites of postmodern sensibility." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This book's origins derive from a realization some time ago, following a trip to Disney World, that various people had written about the Disney theme parks. They had apparently found them significant. It struck me that it would be a good idea to examine these writings to see what the various authors made of the parks, and to produce a short article on my findings. I saw it very much as a sideline interest, which would not divert me too much from the kinds of book that I normally write (in areas such as leadership theory, research methodology and quantitative data analysis for social scientists). But I soon became aware that there was a sizeable literature on Walt Disney, on his organization, and on the theme parks as well, and that it would be useful to consider the three in tandem. Moreover, the parks in particular seemed to be everyone's favourite example when it came to specifying the characteristics of postmodernity or contemporary tourism. I was also struck by the huge variety of people who had written on Disney issues, encapsulating such notables as Jean Baudrillard, E. L. Doctorow, Umberto Eco, and Stephen J. Gould. When I raised the possibility of writing a book on Disney and his worlds, after my colleague Mike Gane had put the idea into my head, my then editor at Routledge, Chris Rojek, announced that he had just had an article on Disney culture accepted in a journal. Moreover, the interest in Disney matters seems to be growing, as indicated by Susan Willis's comment in her introduction to a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly (volume 92, number 1, 1993) on 'The World According to Disney': 'From what I hear on the cultural studies grapevine, the floodgate of Disney criticism is about to open.'

Part I of this book is concerned with Walt Disney and his

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