Senior Lecturer in American History, John Wills, has published a new book as part of the Rutgers University Press series, Quick Takes: Movies and Popular Culture.
Entitled Disney Culture, Dr Wills’ book explores how over the past century, Disney has grown from a small American animation studio into a multipronged global media giant. Today, the company’s annual revenue exceeds the GDP of over 100 countries, and its portfolio has grown to include Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC, and ESPN. With a company so diversified, is it still possible to identify a coherent Disney vision or message?
Disney Culture proposes that there is still a unifying Disney ethos, one that can be traced back to the corporate philosophy that Walt Disney himself developed back in the 1920s. Yet, as cultural historian John Wills demonstrates, Disney’s values have also adapted to changing social climates. At the same time, the world of Disney has profoundly shaped how Americans view the world.
Wills offers a nuanced take on the corporate ideologies running through animated and live-action Disney movies from Frozen to Fantasia, from Mary Poppins to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But Disney Culture encompasses much more than just movies as it explores the intersections between Disney’s business practices and its cultural mythmaking. Welcome to “the Disney Way.”
About the author
John Wills is a senior lecturer in American history and the director of American Studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. He is the author of Conservation Fallout: Nuclear Protest at Diablo Canyon, California and U.S. Environmental History: Inviting Doomsday.
Reviews of ‘Disney Culture’
“Wills makes a strong contribution to both the fields of media studies as well as Disney scholarship with this concise, well written and thoroughly engaging overview of how the cultural, artistic, and economic factors surrounding the Disney corporation intersect.”
Blair Davis, author of Movie Comics: Page to Screen/Screen to Page
“Disney Culture is a notable addition to the growing critical work on Disney and its cultural significance. Wills skillfully dissects the Disney ethos and even challenges the multimedia giant to ‘mean something beyond merchandise’ in the twenty-first century.”
Janet Wasko, author of Understanding Disney: The Manufacture of Fantasy
For more information about Disney Culture, please see the publisher’s website :