The term Disneyfication (also Disneyisation) describes the transformation of a society to The term also appears in The Cultures of Cities (), by Sharon Zukin, and was popularized in The Disneyization of Society (), by Alan Bryman. I am grateful to: Blackwell Publishers for permission to use material from ‘The Disneyization of society’, The Sociological Review, 47 (1), , 25–47; SAGE. The Disneyization of Society [Alan Bryman] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Alan Bryman has expanded on his internationally well-known.

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Inquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers. The idea of Disneyization springs from a conviction that there are changes to our social world that the Disney theme parks exemplify. Disneyization thus becomes a lens through which the nature of modern society can be viewed, as well as a way of thinking about issues to do with consumption and globalization.

I am by no means the first person to suggest that modern society is increasingly taking on the characteristics of the Disney dissneyization parks, but I discuss this issue in a systematic way rather than make general allusions to the influence of the Disney theme parks.

In addition to drawing attention to ways in which the Disney parks may have been influential on a variety of social institutions and practices, I also argue that they exemplify certain developments that were in train before the first park opened Disneyland in In other words, the Disney theme parks are emblematic of certain trends that I identify in this book while simultaneously having been influential in their own right.

Following a general introduction to the idea of Disneyization in Chapter 1, I then outline these four dimensions — theming, hybrid consumption, merchandising, and performative labour — in the succeeding four chapters. In Chapter 6, I suggest that crucial to the successful operation of Disneyization are control and surveillance and I outline the ways in which these are salient to the Disney theme parks and to Disneyized institutions and practices more generally.

In the final chapter, I link Disneyization to wider issues to do with consumption and globalization. Here, I raise the question of whether Disneyization should be viewed as a homogenizing trend that creates a standardized world. I coin the idea of a systemscape to help deal with this issue. Disneyization is treated as a systemscape in the sense of a set of underlying principles that are diffusing throughout the economy, culture and society, but which allow considerable variation in how they are implemented.

Consequently, the forms that Disneyized institutions take on are likely to vary considerably. In this final chapter, I also seek to inject a more critical tone than is usually apparent in the other chapters, by asking how far Disneyization has adverse consequences and implications.

I am grateful to: In this book, I have slightly changed the way in which I conceptualize the dimensions of Disneyization from the ways in which they were presented in these three articles. In addition, I would like to thank: Chapter One Disneyization Mini Contents Disneyization not Disneyfication 5 Trivialization and sanitization Reflections on Disneyization 6 10 Conclusion 12 In this book, I make the case that more and more sectors of society and the economy are being infiltrated by a process I call Disneyization.

By Disneyization I mean simply: I see the principles that are described in this book as infiltrating many and a growing number of areas of social, cultural, and economic life.

At the same time, I will emphasize that we cannot attribute the dispersion of these principles solely to the rise of the Disney theme parks, since they clearly predate the parks themselves. The Disney theme park principles may well have leaked into our social institutions and practices without the aid of the parks themselves.

However, it is also likely that the high profile of the parks and the frequency with which they are held up as models in a variety of areas — for theming, for their architecture, for their transformation of shopping into play, for their smiling ever-helpful employees, and so on — have contributed greatly to the circulation of the underlying principles described in this book.

In other words, the principles with which it is associated are gradually spreading throughout the globe. The issue of the global diffusion of Disneyizing principles in relation to globalization is discussed in Chapter 7.

I recognize that globalization has become simultaneously fashionable and unfashionable: The issues involved in these considerations are also addressed in Chapter 7.

Chapters 2 to 5 explore the dimensions of Disneyization. In discussing each dimension, the following issues will be addressed: The second of these three issues is presented to remind us that it is not being suggested that the Disney theme parks were the first context to manifest each of the four aspects of Disneyization. Instead, it is suggested that the Disney theme parks are emblems of the four trends that are discussed. It is almost certainly the case that there has been a process of emulation of the Disney theme park principles due to the immense success, prominence and popularity of the parks.


Where appropriate, these processes of imitation will be noted. However, the central point is that the parks exemplify and symbolize the four aspects of Disneyization. Consequently, the listing that follows is organized by resort and then by year of opening.

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California Magic Kingdom opened The original theme park was organized into lands, the main ones being: Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, and Fantasyland. Main Street USA is the artery that leads the visitor inexorably towards the lands. As with all Disney theme parks, a land provides the background narrative to the attractions within it.

California Adventure opened Divided into lands, themed in terms of California, such as: Epcot Center opened This theme park has changed its name slightly on a number of occasions and is now just called Epcot, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

It has two main areas: Future World, containing pavilions dedicated to aspects of science and nature and World Showcase, containing representations of a variety of nations.

Walt Disney Studios opened in Divided into lands, themed in terms of the movies and Hollywood, including: Hong Kong Disneyland Phase 1 is due to open in In a sense, Disneyization takes up where McDonaldization leaves off. McDonaldization is frequently accused of creating a world of homogeneity and sameness.

One of the main foundations for Disneyization is that of increasing the appeal of goods and services and the settings in which they are purveyed in the increasingly homogenized environments that are the products of McDonaldization. In essence, Disneyization is about consumption.

Disneyfication – Wikipedia

Disneyization seeks to create variety and difference, where McDonaldization wreaks likeness and similarity. It exchanges the mundane sciety of homogenized consumption experiences with frequently spectacular experiences. Hybrid consumption environments themselves frequently take on the characteristics of the spectacular because of the sheer variety of consumption opportunities they offer and especially when accompanied by theming.

To a significant extent, then, Disneyization connects with a post-Fordist world of variety and choice in which consumers reign supreme. My reason for preferring the alternative term is that Disneyfication is typically associated with a statement disneyizxtion the cultural products of the Disney company.

To Disneyfy means to translate or transform an object into something superficial and even simplistic. Magic, mystery, individuality … were consistently destroyed when a literary work passed through this machine that had been taught there was only one correct way to draw. For writers like these, the process of Disneyfication is one of rendering the material being worked upon a fairy tale, a novel, a historical event into a standardized format that is almost instantly recognizable as being from the Disney stable.

Disneyisation actual fact, this is not strictly true. As a result, audiences are sometimes unsure about what is and is not a Disney film or indeed what is or is not a Disney theme park a particularly common mistake among Orlando visitors. However, that possibility should not detract from the fact that Disneyfication is widely perceived in terms similar to those outlined above by Schickel, Walz, and other writers.

Trivialization and sanitization It is the association of Disneyfication with trivialization and sanitization that is often behind the critiques that are launched against the company and its products.

A critique by Frances Clarke Sayers provides an example of the kind of concern expressed. She accused Walt of: Haas also writes about Disneyfication, but in the context of the gangster novel in the form of the Disney version of E.

Societt argues that the movie was a critical and box office failure because in its Disneyfication, it went against the grain of the conventions of the gangster film. Audiences that were familiar with contemporary gangster films such as The Untouchables and Goodfellas were unprepared for and dismissive of the alternative template that Disney had imposed.

Walz also discusses Disneyfication in the context of his examination of the work of a former Disney animator, Charlie Thorson who, inmoved from MGM to Warner Bros. Walz observes disneiyzation during this period traditional Disney themes of the kind that will be encountered in later chapters, such as nostalgic yearnings, were in evidence.

The location would also have been 35 miles from Washington, DC. In spite of posturing that it was determined to go ahead kf in the face of opposition, the company pulled out of the proposal the following year.

While the term Disneyfication was eisneyization necessarily employed by contributors to this debate, the kinds of points that were made about the likely impact of the park and its representation of history were more or less exactly socifty same as those of authors who inveigh against the spread of Disneyfication.


One was that the proposed park was to be located on almost sacred ground, an area of immense symbolic significance for the American people. As Handler and Gable note, the museum of this period was frequently depicted as too much like a theme park. However, Handler and Gable, socirty well as other societ such as Huxtable, 21 still point to systematic omissions from its presentation of history, which is typically regarded as having been purged of undesirable features of the time.

For present purposes, the crucial point is that the kind of history presented at Colonial Williamsburg was precisely the kind of history that sociefy deemed undesirable — one that lacked ssociety sense of the diverse and conflictful nature of the period, a history that was too influenced by a Disney view of how American history should be presented to the masses.

What we see here is a tendency for Disneyfication to be applied to the cultural realm in the form of stories and the depiction of history. Sometimes, authors attribute Disneyfication to other kinds of phenomena. It had become an area that many New Yorkers chose to avoid unless they were looking for the less than salubrious trade that was rife there.


It became a tourist and consumer enclave within the city. The tone of such accounts is almost relentlessly negative.

It has become difficult to discuss the impacts of Walt Disney and his company in a neutral tone when employing Disneyfication as shorthand for discussing the nature of those impacts. Moreover, the emphasis tends to be upon disneyizatoon products like stories and historical representations rather than upon wider changes in culture and the economy.

The mention of the Disneyfication or Disnification of Times Square by writers like Ross and Giroux calls attention to the influence of Disney in the area but does little more than that. There is even a vagueness about the term. In other words, the problem for a social scientist confronting a discussion of the wider impact of the Disney company and the emblematic aspects of its operations is that the term with the widest currency — Disneyfication — has become tainted with a largely negative view of the company and its influence.

Moreover, Disneyfication has largely become associated with a particular stance on that impact, namely that it is mainly to do with sanitization and trivialization. Even then, the brief coverage of a few definitions suggests that it does not have a singular meaning and is not necessarily applied in a consistent or rigorous way. There are exceptions to this last point. First, it is a social order which is controlled by an all-powerful organization.

She demonstrates how the Disneyfication of Seattle was resisted by locals in this particular instance. This is an interesting analysis that is somewhat different from the other treatments of Disneyfication, most notably in its less negative tone and in its application of the idea to the built environment in a more systematic way than was seen in the brief allusions above to the Disneyfication of Times Square.

However, I have opted not to use the term Disneyfication in this book because I wanted one that was not accompanied by negative baggage and also one that had not been employed in other contexts and would allow me to generate a discussion of the spread of the principles associated with the Disney theme parks. Reflections on Disneyization Disneyization seems to fit the requirements outlined in the previous paragraph, in spite of its inelegance.

I cannot claim that it has never been used before. For example, in a news article on Las Vegas, Warren Bates, a journalist, has written: However, as will be discussed in later chapters, since the late s Las Vegas hotels have sought to reposition themselves as playgrounds, not just for adults but also for children by including theme park attractions.

Las Vegas has often been referred to as an adult Disneyland, but for the author of this news item, Disneyization means making disneyizatioon appropriate to children as well as adults. In a sense, Gill misses a further Disney-related point here: Using terms in this way may be yet a further way in which Disney influences our perceptions.