From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Disneyfication or Disneyization, (also rendered "McDisneyization") are neologisms, taken from the name of The Walt Disney Company, to describe what some see as the way principles of Disney theme parks are spreading throughout society. Sharon Zukin (1996) uses the former term in her book The Cultures of Cities, as do other social scientists writing about urban transformation. The later term was popularized by Alan Bryman in a 2004 book, The Disneyization of Society.
It is a generally pejorative term and the primary components of which are theming, de-differentiation of consumption; merchandising; and emotional labour. It can be used more broadly to describe the processes of stripping a real place or event of its original character and repackaging it in a sanitized format. References to anything negative are removed, and the facts are watered-down with the intent of making the subject more pleasant and easily grasped. In the case of places, this typically means replacing what has grown organically over time with an idealized and tourist-friendly veneer reminiscent of the "Main Street USA" attractions at Disney theme parks.
The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard who writes about the nature of reality and the hyperreality has called Disneyland the most real place in America as it is not pretending to be anything more than it actually is, a theme park. In his essay Simulations he wrote:
- "Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation."
He also criticized the hidden corporate nature of the company in his book America:
- "The whole Walt Disney philosophy eats out of your hand with these pretty little sentimental creatures in grey fur coats. For my own part, I believe that behind these smiling eyes there lurks a cold, ferocious beast fearfully stalking us."
- Alan E. Bryman. The Disneyization of Society. Sage Publications. 2004.
- Zukin, Sharon. The Cultures of Cities. Blackwell Publishing. 1996