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Understanding the Disney Curriculum

Sat, April 18, 8:15 to 9:45am, Sheraton, Floor: Ballroom Level, Sheraton IV


In this essay, we provide a comprehensive review of how educational scholars have taken up Disney in order to situate the essays included in this volume within the interdisciplinary body of work that constitutes Disney Studies. We highlight the ways that Disney enacts a broad-reaching [corporate] public pedagogy (Savage, 2010) and position it as a “big” curriculum of public and private spaces that resides in both liminal and distant proximities to formal educational institutions such as schools (Stearns, Sandlin, & Burdick, 2011). We establish the methodological context for the multiple approaches to Disney curriculum studies by describing Kellner’s (2011) multiperspectival approach to media and popular culture analysis, which values a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches to studying media’s interactions with culture and society, and which argues that to fully understand media culture, scholars must take up multiple perspectives, each providing small pieces of a larger puzzle. Finally, we embed our essay in a discussion of the conceptual contexts that underlie the themes that have emerged from the literature, including “the affective turn” (Clough, 2007), the expansion of commodification under advanced capitalism, and the politics of ontology in a “participatory” culture (Jenkins, 2009).


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