Date of Award

Summer 1995

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Garner, Ana C.

Second Advisor

Porter, Gregory

Third Advisor

Mayerle, Judine

Abstract

This thesis addresses the representations of the dominant ideology of progress on the television series Disneyland (1954-1959) and Walt Disney Presents (1959-1961). Using writings by Louis Althusser, Raymond Williams, and John Fiske, the author develops the concept of "ideogical tools," which are program elements that perpetuate ideology within the texts. The thesis then addresses the presentation of five such tools: history, technology, nostalgia, animation, and behind the scenes footage. These tools ultimately situate Disney and his studio in two positions: educator and entertainer. By operating as educator (primarily through the history and technology tools), Disney perpetuated the ideology of progress by addressing subjects relevant to the entire 1950s culture, such as Davy Crockett or rocket science. By operating as entertainer (through nostalgia, animation, and behind the scenes footage), he perpetuated the ideology by using his own studio as a model for progress and reproduction of labor-power.

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