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Title: Walt Disney's world: Homunculus, Apparatus, Utopia
Authors: Harrington, Sean
Advisors: Nobus, D
Keywords: Psychoanalysis;Disney;Lacan;Sexuality;Perversion
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Brunel University
Abstract: This text seeks to provide an account of the subject as a consumer of mass-media. As such, the contemporary consumer must interact with corporate entities as socio-cultural institutions that enable a self-administration of gratification. The case under discussion is that of the Walt Disney Company, which is perhaps the most iconic purveyor of consumable media in the world. 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 within this text is organised by a synthesis of several theoretical constructs: the animated homunculus, the regressive cinematic apparatus and the Disney consumerist utopia. The homunculus refers to a point of contact for the subject's gratification. It is a fetishistic device used in animated films to create a focal point for the viewer's desire and identifications. This operates within the subject's relation to the screen as apparatus, which in the case of Disney is demonstrated to be regressive in its narrative structure and stylistic content. The regressive pleasures of Disney media support a system and economy of gratification that crystallizes in Disney as a commercial entity. The ideological and structural core of the Disney entity is demonstrated to be a utopian vision of consumerism and self-administration of gratification. The creation of socio-cultural structures that enable the subject to self-administrate their gratification is shown to be related to the problem of addiction; a dependency on consumables and consumption itself. Together these concepts create a holistic account of Disney as an object of study, as both commercial entity, visual medium and cultural institution.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London.
Appears in Collections:Psychology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Theses

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