From Graceland to Dollywood, from Las Vegas to Disneyworld, this book explores the origins, nature, and future of themed environments in information-overloaded America. The Theming of America explores the nature of social change in America since the ...
1960s-from Graceland to Dollywood, from Las Vegas to Disneyworld, from the Mall of America to your local mall. Modern Americans cannot escape the profusion of recognizable symbols and signs attached to virtually all aspects of our culture, tying our media culture and the seductions of consumerism to the production of ingeniously designed spaces. This accessible second edition has been revised and updated. This second edition of Theming of America is an analysis of American society in which the author, Mark Gottdiener 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. This second edition has been revised and updated. 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.
"Gottdiener's historical and semiotic exploration of the cultural forces behind 'theming' will engage readers across a number of disciplines. His inquiry into the ways in which material culture enables consumers to coproduce the experience of consumption is especially timely. Just how pervasively these structured environments shape and reflect consumer culture is revealed in his thoughtful treatment." -John F. Sherry Jr., Northwestern University
"This book is a much-needed and valuable addition to the literature on semiotics and the built environment. Gottdiener's use of a semiotic methodology to link themed environments as diverse as Disneyland and Las Vegas is brilliant and contributes to our understanding of the multiple meanings such environments have for all of us." -Talmadge Wright, Loyola University at Chicago
"The Theming of America brings cultural studies down to earth and illuminates some of our most familiar public spaces. It helps us to understand and navigate the themed environments that are colonizing our everyday life." -Douglas Kellner, University of Texas at Austin
Praise for the first edition, Theming of America: "Rich in historical detail and critical interpretation. It shows a thinking mind at work." -Contemporary Sociology