Skip to main content

Understanding Disney: The Manufacture of Fantasy

Understanding Disney: The Manufacture of Fantasy

Janet Wasko

ISBN: 978-0-745-66904-5 June 2013 Polity 272 Pages




Since the 1930s the Walt Disney Company has produced characters, images, and stories which have captivated audiences around the world. How can we understand the appeal of Disney products? What is it about the Disney phenomenon that attracts so many children as well as adults?

In this major new book, Janet Wasko examines the processes by which the Disney company - one of the largest media and entertainment corporations in the world - manufactures the fantasies which enthrall millions. She analyses the historical expansion of the Disney empire, examines the content of Disney's classic films, cartoons and TV programs and shows how they are produced, considering how some of the same techniques have been applied to the Disney theme parks. She also discusses the reception of Disney products by different kinds of audiences. By looking at the Disney phenomenon from a variety of perspectives, she provides a fresh and comprehensive account of one of the most significant media and cultural institutions of our time.

This important book by a leading scholar of the entertainment industries will be of great interest to students in media and cultural studies and will appeal to a wide readership.

Preface and Acknowledgments vii

1 Introducing the Disney Universe 1

2 Disney History(ies) 6

3 The Disney Empire 28

4 Corporate Disney in Action 70

5 Analyzing the World According to Disney 108

6 Dissecting Disney’s Worlds 153

7 Disney and the World 183

8 Living Happily Ever After? 219

Notes 226

Index 257

'Janet Wasko's Understanding Disney is a comprehensive critical examination of the Disney company and its operations. This is an ambitious, thoughtful and exciting book - one of the most important books in media studies in years, and it deserves the attention of scholars and students everywhere.' Robert W. McChesney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

'Janet Wasko, one of the foremost political economists of communication, turns her considerable skills and energy to analysing the nearly endless flow of Disney products worldwide. The result is an E-ticket ride for everyone, from general readers to Disney specialists.' Susan Davis, University of California, San Diego

A A wide ranging analysis of the Disney empire by a leading scholar
A Studies Disney from a variety of perspectives: as a global business, the content of Disney products, and how they are received by audiences
A Discusses Disney theme parks as well as films, cartoons and TV programmes