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Enchanting a disenchanted world: Revolutionizing the means of consumption Essay

“Cathedrals of Consumption” concept was coined by George Ritzer and it means a site of consumption that is part of a, multinational corporation, and has international success of exceptionally high level (Ritzer, 1999). Ritzer (1999) explained that the corporation success and its Cathedrals of Consumption, is in a way that it displays of excess and abundance and gives rise to consumer cult. Besides providing different commodified services and goods at their different locations existing around the globe, Ritzer (2015) indicated that Cathedrals of Consumption often allows the consumers to do things themselves, and other strategies making consumers believe that their shopping attitude that is new found will change their lives forever. Cathedrals of Consumption are designed with an expectation that the consumers will develop the passion for getting goods and services gradually. They are places of excessive consumption, and this has led the consumers to hyper-consume than they need.

Disney World and its other aspects are of interest to this paper because it represent a Cathedrals of Consumption in myriad ways. From the definition of Cathedrals of Consumption, as provided by Ritzer (2015), Disney World falls as one of the Cathedrals of Consumption. Disney World or Walt Disney World Resort is operated and owned by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, which is a branch of Walt Disney Company which is a corporation (Walt Disney World, n.d). This implies that Disney World is part of an international corporation, and it is just a site of consumption for the larger corporation.

Ritzer (2015) further showed how Disney World is a Cathedral of Consumption. Disney World in a way displays of excess and abundance and gives rise to consumer cult, besides providing different commodified services and goods at their different locations existing around the globe. At Disney World, I have consumed many things such as a day at Walt Disney World, T-shirts, fast foods and other non-obvious things such as a day at the ballpark, medical service and a lecture. I have become a loyal consumer of Disney World’s many goods and services that I think I need and other essential goods and services. Additionally, Disney World has global presence through its several products, theme parks and many of its business enterprises such as the television shows (the Disney channel),movies (Walt Disney Studios), and cable television network (Walt Disney World, n.d). Lefkon & Safro (2013) pointed out that the CEO of Disney World claimed that over one billion people globally use Disney products monthly. Moreover, there are 229 Disney stores online and in innumerable stores, Radio Disney for children, Disney Mobile which are wireless phones that are very popular in Japan, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Publishing that is the largest publisher of children’s books globally, Disney Ownership of ESPN and ABC, Disney credit card, Disney catalogue, and Disney theatrical. Lefkon & Safro (2013) asserted that all these are synergistically employed to market one another in a system that is tightly integrated and this sells the brand of Disney and yields large profits, hence has created a consumer cult.

How is this cathedral an example of re-enchantment in a disenchanted world? Give concrete and specific examples

The Cathedrals of Consumption, such as Disney World, must be re-enchanted continually if they are to maintain their attracting ability of sufficient number of consumers. Disney World is an example of re-enchantment in a disenchanted world in many ways. Ritzer (1999) defined re-enchantment as a process of creating a spectacle through simulations and extravaganzas. Spectacles According to Ritzer (1999, p. 96) are astonishing shows such as the Mardi Gras, conventions, fairs and even the department stores. You must offer something extra for whatever you have to sell.

Disney World re-enchanted by transforming the amusement parks, creating moral order compared to the early parks, cleaned them up and making them be accepted as family entertainment. Walt Disney World (n.d) pointed out that Disney offered controlled, self-contained environments free from different forms of problems that undermined earlier parks. Despite the fact that visitors who arrived in early parks felt danger and sense of looseness, the tourists arriving at the Disney World take comfort and know for a fact that within Disney World lies a world that is tightly regulated.

How does it enchant and re-enchant? What mechanisms does it use to do this? Show this by using the following concepts from Ritzer, Chaps. 5 & 6: Spectacles, extravaganzas & simulations

Disney World enchants and re-enchant using different mechanisms such as spectacles, extravaganzas and simulations.

Spectacles

These are astonishing shows such as the Mardi Gras, conventions, fairs and even the department stores (Ritzer, 1999 p. 96). The new consumption means in Disney World create spectacle in order to bring very many people to buy services and goods. A casino, a mall or a theme park that is half full or empty has a smaller population of selling and does not generate a similar excitement as a full house. Disney World uses spectacles since it understands well that sparsely populated consumption cathedrals generate less appeal and can fail. Many people are animated by presence of a large number of persons, and this translates to increased sale of services and goods.

Extravaganzas

These are different devices used in creating a spectacle (Ritzer, 1999 pp. 98). They are also intentional shows put to produce spectacles. In Disney World, they distinguish themselves by putting on spectacular shows than their competitors. Disney World uses variety of devices in creating their spectacular shows such as legendary stars, large orchestras, huge casts, potentially dangerous and live animals, elaborate production numbers, booming sounds, blinding light shows, breath-taking technology. Ostentatious sets, daring nudity, incredible costumes among others (Ritzer, 1999 pp.98)

Simulations

This is the process of creating an illusion of reality, where the real imitates the imitation now, and the unreal becomes the reality (Ritzer, 1999 pp.103-111). Some of the entertainment simulations at Disney World include the video and computer games that correctly simulate the environment. Film simulations are also popular in Disney World since they are controllable, of high quality. Moreover, theme park rides are simulators where the ride simulators feel like they are realistically moving according to the motion scripts pre-recorded.

How does the Cathedral use science and rationality to create the magic of these spectacles? Be sure to give concrete examples

The Cathedrals of Consumption uses rationality and science in creating magic of these spectacles in many ways. AS they attract more consumers of their products, their enchantment must be reproduced on demand over and over. In addition, branches of the enchanted settings that are successful are opened globally and across the nation with the result that the same magic essentially must be reproduced in many locations. To realize this, the magic is systemized in a way that it is recreated easily from one place or time to another. For example, use of wienies, the examples seen on DVDs (Ritzer, 2015)

Is your cathedral a landscape of consumption? Using Ritzer’s definition explain why or why not

Landscape of consumption encompasses a number of Cathedrals of Consumption r geographic areas encompassing two or even more Cathedrals of Consumption (Ritzer, 2015, pp. 103). Disney World is a landscape of consumption because it has a variety of Cathedrals of Consumption. Walt Disney created a revolutionary amusement park that is the theme park devoted to a particular motif. Others include Disneyland Park, Downtown Disney, Disney World in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Resort Paris. Moreover, magic kingdom is at the heart of the Disney World. According to Lefkon & Safro (2013), a trek through the Disney World begins and then ends on the main street of United States, an outdoor shopping mall. This leads to other six lands that are themed which includes Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Mickey’s Toontown Fair. More broadly, all of these theme parks as well as other consumption means are found in one geographic area or even adjacent to Disney word, making it landscape of consumption.

Is your cathedral in devolution (Chap. 8, p. 189) or in some other postmodern transformation (p. 188)?

Disney World is in postmodern transformation since recently it experienced setbacks and declines and there is a possibility that the declines could be transformed into devolutions that are long term where consumptions continue to retreat (Walt Disney World, n.d).

How do you think the Great Recession has affected your cathedral? Be specific

The great recession affected Disney World in many ways because before the great recession; Disney Wonderland had irrational exuberance, and this led to overbuilding of different structures and a great deal of excess capacities. After the recession, newer settings of consumption that were able to overcome the challenges and the weaknesses came up (Ritzer, 1999).

Are there some social and political policies that have affected the development, growth, or devolution of Cathedrals of Consumption?

There are some social and political policies that have affected the development, growth, or devolution of Cathedrals of Consumption. There are efforts through policies to find new uses for of the consumption cathedrals such as the big box stores, soon-to-be empty. Additionally, in some cases, I have seen true devolution as where contemporary consumption means are replaced by independently owned small shops. Moreover, I have seen in some malls especially the strip malls vacated by the chains being occupied by independent small entrepreneurs. All these changes are as a result of social and political policies.

References

Ritzer, G. (2015). Essentials of Sociology.Ritzer, G. (1999). Enchanting a disenchanted world: Revolutionizing the means of consumption. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Pine Forge Press.

Walt Disney World. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/Lefkon, W., & Safro, J. (2013). Walt Disney World 2014: Expert Advice from the inside source. New York: Disney Editions.

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