Disneyization versus Disneyfication

I was recently having a chat with a friend. When asked about my dissertation, I made some comment about the “Disneyization fairy tales.” My friend subtly corrected me, “Disneyification, yeah.” Since I use this term a lot throughout my dissertation, I thought I should make a public statement about what that means.

Alan Bryman in his most excellent book, The Disneyization of Society, defines Disneyization as the process whereby everything becomes..well, Disneyized. He proposes a formula that is applicable not only to Disney, but to other entities (including scuzzy tourist traps) that seek to accomplish a particular experience for the visitor. Bryman uses this term, and I believe coins this term, in order to distinguish this formula from “Disneyification,” which is a term with some serious negative connotations.

“Disneyification” implies the process whereby Disney takes a story (usually a fairy tale) and butchers it, sanitizing it and trivializing the child imagination. These are critiques against all thing Disney, and are thrown around within the fields of literature/fairy tale studies, child development, and culture commentators.

One of the things I hope to transcend by using Bryman’s term rather than “Disneyification” is the anti-Disney stigma. There are a lot of vocal people out there who don’t like Disney, and I’m sure this is for good reason. I definitely don’t deny that Disney’s motives trend towards control and manipulation of experience – perhaps we could call it institutionalized mythmaking (hmm, that opens several doors of possible discussion!) – but that do not mean that Disney’s motives should be seen as necessarily evil, negative, or the like. I firmly maintain (believe, whatever) that Disney is responding to the collective American psyche, and has been since Walt launched the company. As far as the whole Globalization business, consider this: with the exception of Nazi Germany, the rest of the world embraced Mickey Mouse (the Nazi’s thought he was a spy, according old newspaper headlines). The spread of Disney across the world has been welcomed by more people than not. For the countries who are completely opposed to the Disney presence, they have the power to shut the corporation out. If Disney Globalization is such an issue, then why hasn’t Disney been shut out of more countries, hmm?

I’ve developed a nasty habit with this blog of googling images that relate to the theme of the blog and I keep finding so many fun ones! Here’s a closing image for today’s post: