When talking and reading about post modernism, you almost always hear or see a reference to Disneyland as the ultimate postmodern consumption machine. Disney’s ability to recreate Nostalgia embodies one of the leading ideas in the changing role of the consumer. As our society and market began to change, Disneyland saw the future of mass consumerism and capitalized on the new ideals. Postmodern consumption was defined by the changing belief that a consumer should become part of an active consumption. Disney dismissed the idea of consumers as targets, but rather engaged their imagination to alter their realities and initiate consumption through active involvement. Hyper-reality was Disney’s goal; to disconnect consumers from their current realities and transfer them into a suspended state of disbelief in nostalgia.
The postmodern paradox of escaping reality is illuminated in Disney. In order to visit Disneyland, people are already entering the fantasy world of Hollywood. The paradox occurs when the consumer believes he or she has escaped the grasp of a determined path of consumption and ascended into a world of endless possibility. The truth is that a process known as Disneyfication, is working to give visitors the thematic settings and aesthetic pleasures that encourage DISNEY’S predetermined consumption patterns.
While the harsh realities of life discourage and depress people, Disney flips the script and gives the consumer a upgraded consumption landscape in a predetermined fantasy world that becomes the stage for the Worlds cast of consumers. Consumers began to feel and embrace the hyperreality designed so brilliantly to captivate active consumption and suspend the constraints of reality all the way to your wallet.
critical thinking questions:
1. What factors brought about the creation of Disneyland?
2. Does Disneyland’s location play a large role in what it represents and transmits?
3. Have any businesses attempted to mirror Disney’s approach that you know of?