Imperial vertigo and the themed experience: Yuanmingyuan and Disneyland compared

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Issue: Volume 7, Issue 1, 2013


This article compares the morphological structures of two parks: Disneyland and Yuanmingyuan, the “summer palace” of the emperor of China. Despite obvious differences, the two parks were intended for the entertainment of the sovereigns of their respective countries — the emperor of China and “the people” in the case of the United States. Both parks were also designed to bring ontological reassurance to the sovereigns of two empires that only recently had attained their hegemonic, imperial, status. The parks provided a vision of a universe organized according to each sovereign’s specifications. The need for reassurance is reflected in the morphology of the two parks: the use of techniques of dislocation and idealization; the model-making and the use of thematized environments. A study of the morphology of the parks is for that reason a study of imperial ideology.

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Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China, PRC


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Title: Human Geographies - Journal of Studies and Research in Human Geography
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Prof. dr. Liliana Dumitrache
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Daniela Dumbrăveanu
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Mariana Nae
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Gabriel Simion
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

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