Contemporary Reinventions of Religion: Disney and the Academy

William E. Arnal and Russell T. McCutcheon

in The Sacred Is the Profane

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199757114
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979530 | DOI:
Contemporary Reinventions of Religion: Disney and the Academy

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This chapter, inspired by the decision to hold the 1998 American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting on the Disney World grounds, compares the construction of “fantasy” in Disney-related phenomena with the generation of “religion” as a category, arguing that both serve the liberal political agenda of modernity: They create special enclosures that serve to segregate positive ends-oriented behavior to minimize the social impact of subjectively determined human goals and desires. The chapter goes on to argue that the conditions of postmodernity, which have altered some key modern values, have simultaneously impacted the appropriation of fantasy and the political utility of religion, largely by commodifying and fetishizing both. These postmodern alterations, however, do not in the end allow for any more efficacious expression of desire at the social level than did modernity.

Keywords: disney; modernity; postmodernism; ideology; capitalism; secularism; fantasy

Chapter.  6750 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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