How should we understand the theme park in our globalised world? In A Cultural History of the Disneyland Theme Parks: Middle Class Kingdoms (Intellect, 2020), Dr. Sabrina Mittermeier, a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in American cultural history at the University of Kassel, Germany, presents a detailed and engaging cultural history of Disneyland’s theme parks to tell the story of this now global phenomenon. The book has detailed case studies of each of the theme parks, from the original Disneyland as a cultural product of the 1950s, through the transcultural space of Tokyo Disneyland, to the authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese theme park in Shanghai. The story of EuroDisney, and DisneyWorld in Florida further develop the book’s argument for the need to understand wealth and class as key drivers for the audience these parks seek to attract. The book will be essential reading across humanities and social science, and for anyone interested in contemporary culture.
Dave O'Brien is Chancellor's Fellow, Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Edinburgh's College of Art.