The Disney Fetish
153 pages

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Long considered a figurehead of family values and wholesome adolescence, the Disney franchise has faced increasing criticism over its gendered representations of children in film, its stereotypical representations of race and non-white cultures, and its emphasis on the heterosexual couple. Against a historical backdrop of studio history, audience reception, and the industrial-organizational apparatus of Disney media, Seán Harrington examines the Disney classics through a psychoanalytical framework to explore the spirit of devotion, fandom, and frenzy that is instilled in consumers of Disney products and that underlie the fantasy of the Magic Kingdom. This compelling study demystifies the unsettling cleanliness and pretensions to innocence that the Disney brand claims to hold.

Part One: The Homunculus
1. A Theoretical Context
2. Psycho-mythology
3. The Phallus and Disney Animation
4. The Conceptual Homunculus
Part Two: The Regressive Apparatus
5. Disney Character Tropes
6. The Industrial Process and the Father
7. Fantasia and Eroticism
8. Regression and Jouissance
Part Three: The Hybrid Utopia
9. Hegemony
10. Disney's "Good Neighbor"
11. World War II and Propaganda
12: The Consumerist Utopia
Future Research
References and Filmography



Publié par
Date de parution 09 février 2015
Nombre de lectures 3
EAN13 9780861969081
Langue English

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The Disney Fetish
The Disney Fetish
Se n Harrington
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
The Disney Fetish
A catalogue entry for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN: 9780 86196 713 1 (Paperback edition)
Ebook edition ISBN: 9780-86196-908-1
Ebook edition published by John Libbey Publishing Ltd, 3 Leicester Road, New Barnet, Herts EN5 5EW, United Kingdom e-mail: ; web site:
Printed and electronic book orders (Worldwide): Indiana University Press , Herman B Wells Library - 350, 1320E. 10th St., Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
2015 Copyright John Libbey Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Unauthorised duplication contravenes applicable laws.



Part One
The Homunculus
Chapter 1
A Theoretical Context
Chapter 2
Walt Disney
Alice in Cartoon-land
Chapter 3
The Phallus and Disney Animation
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, the Ego Ideal and the Id
Steamboat Willy
The Duck
Chapter 4
The Conceptual Homunculus
Anality and Rivalry in the Silly Symphonies series
Part Two
The Regressive Apparatus
Chapter 5
Disney Character Tropes
Mass Appeal and Regression
A Disney Apparatus
Snow White
Disney Character Tropes
Chapter 6
The Industrial Process and the Father
A Lexicon of Regression
Absent Fathers: Disney and the Real Boy
Malevolence and the Castrating Fathers
Threat to the Homuncule Body
Chapter 7
Fantasia and Eroticism
Fantasia s Utopia
Pastoral Symphony
The Sorcerer s Apprentice
Death of the Dinosaurs
A Night on Bald Mountain
Chapter 8
Regression and Jouissance
The Regressive
The Law and the Primordial in Regression
Dumbo : Regressive Narratives
Ugly Children
Bambi : Death of the Mother and Jouissance
Violence and the Cartoon Body in Bambi
Part Three
The Hybrid Utopia
Chapter 9
Unionisation and the Disney Strike
Films Made in Studio During the Strike
Chapter 10
Disney s Good Neighbour
The Three Caballeros : Hyper-real Sexuality and Cartoon Jouissance
Communist witch-hunts and red fear
Chapter 11
World War II and Propaganda
The Production of Canadian Propaganda
The United States Enters the War
Donald gets Drafted
The Cartoon Body: Sadism, Exaggeration and Manipulation
Propaganda, pornography and utopia
Chapter 12
The Consumerist Utopia
Television and Disneyland
Feature-length Films of the 50s and 60s: Familial Sexuality
Walt Disney s Death and Walt Disney World
Future Research and End Notes

References, Filmography, Studios, Digital Rights

In picking up this book, one might be curious about the slightly provocative title. Perhaps more specifically: what is the Disney Fetish? Those for whom this may suggest that this book will include latex Mickey Mouse costumes, or perhaps furries or paraphillic infantalists that really enjoy their Disney films, I can only offer apologies, as you are partially correct. While these excitingly prurient elements are absent from this book, I will be addressing the more abstract and structural questions of Disney as a fetishistic practice and more specifically what composes the fetish in structure and form. To best accomplish this I have endeavoured to paint a picture of Disney based on a selection of the multitude of signifiers which compose Disney as the vast socio-cultural institution we know today. The Disney Thing within this text is formed of pseudo-mythical psycho-biography, film analysis and critical theory. It is a frozen image of Disney s classic era, its foray into propaganda and its industrial disputes. While any attempt to distil such an established institution as Disney will be left invariably incomplete, this book attempts to synthesize a perversely delimited entity that we can refer to as Disney for our purposes. In doing so it seems that this research has inadvertently created a fetish of Disney itself; a simplified and seemingly encompassing form that at times disavows a more expansive irrefutable reality. So for those that are curious as to what the Disney Fetish is, we can surmise that this book is itself a Disney fetish. Vulgar pretensions and perverse disappointment aside, this book is essentially an attempt to address how we consume mass media and the broader question of whether our consumption of media is itself problematic.
This text seeks to provide an account of the subject as a consumer of mass-media. Within this consumption it is argued that this consumer must interact with commercial entities (the producers of mass-media) as socio-cultural institutions. These commercial entities provide media that in turn enables a self-administration of gratification. In this context it is argued that the Walt Disney Company is structurally perverse, that the gratification of the Disney consumer is achieved at their expense, and that this expense is to the benefit of Disney commercially and structurally as a major socio-cultural institution. This text makes use of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, film and cultural studies, and the industrial-organisational history of the Walt Disney Company to create an account of the subject s interactions within the apparatus of Disney media. The account of consumerism constructed by text is organised by a synthesis of several theoretical constructs: the animated homunculus, the regressive cinematic apparatus and the Disney consumerist utopia.
In attempting to study Disney it has been necessary to constitute and delimit an object of study: a concept of Disney that is made up of various theoretical accounts, biographical mythologies and established commercial physicalities (media and corporate practice). In wishing to study a concept of Disney it has been necessary to create one in smaller form, much like the homunculus is a smaller copy of the human being; an embryonic image of itself, scaled by an alchemic practice of psychoanalytic and critical theory. This alchemic rendering of Disney in theory and practice mirrors the process of Disneyification : the simplification of texts, concepts and images in order to make them mass consumable to a wide family-friendly audience. While I feel assured that children will not be read this book as a bed-time story, I am concerned that the rendering of so many areas of thought and realms of information may mislead the reader to believing that this text somehow summates the entirety of Disney studies . Rather this text stands with many others in attempting to critique and complicate our common sense notions of family entertainment and Disney media. The many other texts and articles that compose contemporary Disney studies (at least in part) are mentioned through-out this text.
It is my hope that this attempt to create a homuncule image of Disney has not come too close to Disneyifying Disney studies (and indeed psychoanalysis), but it is important for the reader of this text to be aware of this tendency. In attempting to study and render a cultural entity in all its complexities and nuances, simplifications and reductions are perhaps an inevitability. Thus what has been developed in this text should be understood in these terms, it is an attempt to delimit a vast, over-determined and complex set of images and practices from a social, cultural and corporate institution which has been over 80 years in development. This is essentially why I claim that this text creates the object of study, in doing it is hoped that an image of Disney will emerge that will in part account for the contemporary consumer s complex relation to media, fetishism and mass consumption.
I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Dany Nobus and Tanya Krzywinska for their enthusiasm and support. I would also like to thank those at DBS-Arts who initiated me into my cult-like interest in Lacanian psychoanalysis, namely Rik Loose, Aur lie Olivier, Patricia McCarthy and Stephen Costello. A special thanks to Parveen Adams for helping me consolidate and develop my understanding of psychoanalysis in the context of contemporary society. Special thanks to Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson, the work of whom inspired me to begin my research into Disney as a socio-cultural institution, and to Camille Rose Garcia whose work so perfectly encapsulates the essence of our consumption of Disney.
This book has been expertly illustrated by two exceptional graphic artists: Paul Poncho Byrne and Rupert Norfolk. Thank you for all your hard work.
Lastly I would like to thank my family and friends for all their support, without which this work would not have been possible, and to my father, whose presence, laughter and encouragement I miss terribly.
Since the 1930s cultural theorists have been taking note of the changes in consumerism that the industrialisation of the West had produced. People were now confronted by a world where material and mental comforts were becoming more readily available. In his text The Delay of the Machine Age , Hanns Sachs (1933) describes the potential consequences that the creation of the free market and mechanised industrialisation pose for modern man, specifically in the use of machines as supports of gratification. For Sachs, what became troubling in the growing dependence on machines was

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