Spectacular Nature Corporate Culture and the Sea World Experience

ISBN-10: 0520209818
ISBN-13: 9780520209817
Edition: 1997
Authors: Susan G. Davis
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Description: This is the story of Sea World, a theme park where the wonders of nature are performed, marketed, and sold. With its trademark star, Shamu the killer whale--as well as performing dolphins, pettable sting rays, and reproductions of pristine natural  More...

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Book details

List price: $33.95
Copyright year: 1997
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 10/31/1997
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 326
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

This is the story of Sea World, a theme park where the wonders of nature are performed, marketed, and sold. With its trademark star, Shamu the killer whale--as well as performing dolphins, pettable sting rays, and reproductions of pristine natural worlds--the park represents a careful coordination of shows, dioramas, rides, and concessions built around the theme of ocean life. Susan Davis analyzes the Sea World experience and the forces that produce it: the theme park industry; Southern California tourism; the privatization of urban space; and the increasing integration of advertising, entertainment, and education. The result is an engaging exploration of the role played by images of nature and animals in contemporary commercial culture, and a precise account of how Sea World and its parent corporation, Anheuser-Busch, succeed. Davis argues that Sea World builds its vision of nature around customers' worries and concerns about the environment, family relations, and education. While Davis shows the many ways that Sea World monitors its audience and manipulates animals and landscapes to manufacture pleasure, she also explains the contradictions facing the enterprise in its campaign for a positive public identity. Shifting popular attitudes, animal rights activists, and environmental laws all pose practical and public relations challenges to the theme park. Davis confronts the park's vast operations with impressive insight and originality, revealing Sea World as both an industrial product and a phenomenon typical of contemporary American culture.Spectacular Natureopens an intriguing field of inquiry: the role of commercial entertainment in shaping public understandings of the environment and environmental problems.

Susan G. Davis is Associate Professor of Communication at the University of California, San Diego.

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Another World: Theme Parks and Nature
The Park and the City
Producing the Sea World Experience: Landscape and Labor
Enlightenment Lite: The Theme Park Classroom
Routine Surprises: Producing Entertainment
Dreaming of Whales: The Shamu Show
Conclusion
Notes
Index

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