Disneyland & The Smile Factory Essay

A casual glimpse of “The Smile Factory” can take one to believe that writer John Van Maanen is using scathing unfavorable judgment towards the Walt Disney Company and their amusement Parkss. However. such a misguided reading would be losing what is basically an challenging combination of cultural anthropology and workplace sociology. By raising the assorted ways by which park employees. interruption from the stenosiss imposed by the park’s design and the examination of those who would implement the park’s regulations.

It is of import to acknowledge that Disneyland is by nature. a land of ruse. but non in the dyslogistic sense of the word. Its map is to supply invitees with a conflated version of American civilization that is flattened down to its cheeriest facets for the intents of amusement and what one Disney executive is quoted to depict as the “feeling concern. ” where interaction is the rule that governs the “happiness trade. ” Thus. while cultural initiates would be speedy to deride employment at the park as an low signifier of self-tyranny. it would be foolish to disregard the critical function which protocol dramas in optimising this felicity trade. ( Van Maanen 59 )

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Disney has historically emphasized the importance by which the interactive interaction between engineering. creativeness and technology aids give rise to “fantastic worlds” and “beloved characters. ” As such. primacy in the amusement efficaciousness of the Parkss and their attractive forces is given to their Imagineers. The name is a blend of imaginativeness and technology. proposing that with the right mix of technicism and prowess. experiences in the park can be controlled for the maximal felicity. In consequence. the Imagineering manner presented by the book of the same name non merely obscures the influence of employee-guest interactions on the park experience but dismisses them every bit good.

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Therefore. the most notable observations Van Maanen supplies is the emergent behaviour which the park employees display. and the ways in which the park protocol gives rise to an internal civilization that parallels youth civilization. warts and all. Where Disney assumes the existent civilization of the park comes from the alchemical interaction of technology and prowess to make the intentional experience. Van Maanen posits that the influence of protocol and the reactions it generates are what constitute the existent civilization of the park.

These two positions reflect ideological differences on what Disney Parkss are all about. The Disney Company. by stressing the importance of its Imagineers. valorizes the function by which technicism can purify art into a scientific discipline. much like fast nutrient made nutrient service into a proficient subject. Van Maanen on the other manus. suggests symbolic interaction and function playing within the park premises governs the park experience. These two distinguishable cultural points of position are expected since they besides arise from the degree by which Disney is examined as an organisation in relation to its amusement Parkss.

Efficaciously talking. what one identifies as the “culture” of Disney Parks varies whether it is seen top-down from the position of Imagineering-as-management or bottom-up from the position of how the behavioural make-up of employees influences the park as a whole. There is value in the disparity between these positions. Whether the former or the latter presents the ‘real’ civilization – if there even is one – of Disney is a moot point compared to the semiotic interaction of these two forces on the Parkss.

Regardless. I would hold small involvement in seeking employment at the Parks. This has little to make with the comparative deficiency of glamor in the park service and more to make with my antipathy for certain facets of the park sociology depicted by Van Maanen. Van Maanen ( 61-65 ) notes that there is a picking order to assignments and Stationss within the Disney Parkss. For illustration. service crew is regarded lowly compared to the circuit ushers. He besides observes that while this societal pecking order parallels the hallmarks of youth civilization. it is frequently unresolved with worlds outside of the park and it is a cultural disagreement I have no involvement in being a portion of.

Plants Cited

Van Maanen. John. “The Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland. ”Reframing Organizational Culture.Ed. Peter J. Frost. Thousand Oaks. California: Sage Publications. 1991. 58-76.

The Imagineers. “The Imagineering Way. ” Burbank. California: Disney Editions. 2003.

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