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.
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About the Author
Mark Gottdiener is professor of sociology at SUNY-Buffalo and the author of a number of books, including The Theming of America (Westview Press); Las Vegas: The Social Production of an All-American City; New Forms of Consumption: Consumer, Culture, and Commodification; Postmodern Semiotics; and The Social Production of Urban Space.