The Theming of America: Dreams, Visions, and Commercial Spaces

Synopsis

This book explores the nature of social change since the 1960s as reflected in the "theming" of America- from Graceland to Dollywood, from Las Vegas to Disneyworld, from the Mall of America to your local mall. Nowhere can modern Americans escape the profusion of recognizable symbols and signs attached to virtually all aspects of our culture, constantly reminding us that we are on familiar and comforting ground. "Just come in, friend, and buy; make yourself at home," these symbols seem to say, thus tying our media culture and the seductions of consumerism to the production of ingeniously designed symbolic spaces. Mark Gottdiener's book is the first to explore the origins, nature, and future of themed environments in our information-overloaded world. Gottdiener begins with a brief historical account of the shifting importance of themes in the construction of built space. He then evaluates the economic basis for the increasing reliance on symbols in the marketing of commercial enterprises and analyzes contemporary trends in themed restaurants, malls, airports, theme parks, museums, and war memorials. Final chapters are devoted to examining such critical issues as the disappearance of public space, the relation between themes and mass media industries, and the future of symbolic spaces.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Boulder, CO
Publication year:
  • 1997

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