Illness in the Time of Disney

David B. Morris

in Illness and Culture in the Postmodern Age

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780520208698
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926240 | DOI:
Illness in the Time of Disney

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Disneyland (1955) and Walt Disney World (1971) are significant postmodern inventions that Americans tend to see as a national tradition. No one would fault Disney for excluding chronic illness and dying from the Magic Kingdom: they have nothing to do with contemporary myths of childhood or with consumer fantasies. Chronic illness has almost no place in popular self-representations of the postmodern world. It is nearly absent from network television, which prefers to focus on acute illness that is curable, curable especially by handsome, heroic, young doctors using drugs, technology, and the resources of biomedicine. The denial of death is old news, and oversold, given the cameras rolling and clicking at every local disaster. The effort to reclaim chronic illness and dying from biomedical reductiveness and corporate Disneyfication is a major unfinished project of postmodern culture.

Keywords: Disneyland; Walt Disney; childhood myth; chronic illness; postmodern world

Chapter.  10047 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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